After a long day of slogging away at work, one of the best feelings in the world is to come home, plop down on my couch, and exhale a big sigh of relief. Day complete, feet up and relaxed, life just feels right.
Imagine what it would be like if this feeling never came. Imagine the burden and the stress of never being able to find rest and relief. This is the undercurrent of Advent. We all need rest, and yet peace escapes us. But Immanuel came to change the narrative.
Israel sacrificed herds of animals over time, but the relief for their souls was never accomplished. Gallons of blood were poured out in Jerusalem, but there was still no exhale of relief. Another day, another sacrifice—the constant burden of sin. Year after year, God’s people were confronted with the truth that lasting peace and comfort was just out of their reach. Their sacrifices couldn’t make it happen, but Immanuel could, would, and still does.
Israel’s sacrifices piled up day after day and generation after generation, proving they were unable to bring a resolution to their sin. Just like Israel, we try to wash away the stain of sin, but we can’t. It’s out of our reach. For it to happen, we need something we can’t provide, something outside of us and our weakness. We need Jesus.
He “is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The spotless Lamb of lambs. The Prince of peace. Jesus is the final sacrifice for our sins. His sinless life, His death for us on a splintered cross, His blood poured out on that hill outside of Jerusalem, His resurrection and ascension—His finished, all-sufficient sacrifice is the only thing that can bring us redemption, relief, and rest.
Advent reminds us of our need for Jesus and His arrival. When we come to Him, weary, burdened, and repentant, He meets us in our need and gives us rest (Matthew 11:28). True peace is found in the risen Lamb. He calls out to us even now, saying:
“Come, let us settle this,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
though they are crimson red,
they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Written by J. A. Medders