We Pray (but not alone), Comfort Your People
Comfort your People
† IHS †
May you know the comfort of the grace poured out upon you by God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Can We Be Honest?
Advent is a time for honesty. Brutal honesty.
Because without it, we can’t hear the Voice that cries out of Isaiah the words we heard tonight.
Comfort, comfort MY people….
The honesty requires us to realize, that if we are the people of God, we are the people that the Voice is talking about. We are the ones who need comfort, who need peace.
But will we recognize it?
Do we realize we need Jesus to reveal Himself, just as the shepherds in the field did? Just as the wise men from what is now Iraq did? As much as the people Isaiah prophesied to, the people of God who were about were in slavery and bondage, far away from their home, yet living in view of a promise that would care for them.
They needed the comfort, the tender care, the chance to return to full health.
Advent is about realizing we need it as badly as they need it. Mankind lives in the same desperation, we have the same need for God’s rescue from darkness…
We need to hear this cry, this prayer that God would bring comfort to all of His people. Those who know they are His people, those who don’t know it… yet.
We aren’t lost…we aren’t broken
Even as we hear the prayer for comfort, we hear the why that comfort is needed.
Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!
4 Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills!
Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places!
These cries of desperation will be repeated as Jesus begins His ministry, as Jesus begins this work. We need to hear that – as He begins His work.
You see most of us spiritually are in the same place where the average man is, when he keeps refusing to stop for directions, when he denies he needs a GPS, when everyone else knows he is lost, and has no clue where or when to turn next. We deny the need for help, we’ve never gotten lost before. It’s funny when you get lost in Oaklahoma, it’s not so funny when you get lost in combat zones of the inner city.
We aren’t just lost though. Sin isn’t satisfied with that, we are broken, battered, stuck in the wilderness on the side of the road, with no direction, no path, no spiritual yellow brick road.
We look at the world and see they are lost, that they cannot even tell the difference between darkness and light. Is torture right? Is violence? Is sex of any kind outside of marriage? Is gossip and slander and disrespecting authority? Too often we find ourselves justifying that we know is wrong. We should know it simply because we have to justify our thoughts, or actions or words.
We need those roads straightened out, we need to see where we are heading clearly, we need to have a straight direction. This is the focus in advent, to know that those cries will be heard, that God will act. That we can hear His voice.
We’ve got to hear His Voice… We Got to Know His word.
Even as we hear that the path needs to be prepared, we have to hear the voice again that cries out for it.
2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone,
and her sins are pardoned.
This is the cry we hear, what will bring comfort to the people whom God the Father call His children.
The comfort is found in the mercy of God, shown in the work of Jesus. For it is His work to straighten those roads, to fill in the valleys, to make straight the path for God.
That is the incredible view of Advent, seeing the work to make God’s way smooth, the way that will bring us comfort, for the way is the one which we travel with Jesus, as He brings us to the Father.
A way of mercy, a way of peace, a way of joy.
That road, smoothed out, is Jesus work, it is the glory of God revealed to us. The glory that we dwell in, with Him. The glory we see together, His children, with nothing in the way.
For He has spoken.
One more thing… who is praying to whomThe Father cried out to the Son, that Jesus would comfort us.
It is why He needed to come…. It is why He would lay in a manger, and die on the cross. It is why we are united to Him in baptism, why He gives us His body and blood.
Hear it again, we aren’t the only people who pray and plead that all of God’s people would find comfort.
The Father cries, “Comfort, comfort my people!” The Son brings us comfort… and peace. So it was at the incarnation, so it will be at His return. AMEN!