Isaiah 9 v 2-7
Bitterly disappointed by the cruel, depraved leadership of King Ahaz seven centuries BC, Old Testament preacher Isaiah is inspired to predict hardship in the short-term but restoration in the future thanks to God’s faithful love and grace. Ultimately Isaiah’s words point to the coming of the greatest King, given by God, Who initiates a kingdom of justice (treating each other fairly and well) and righteousness (revering and seeking to please God with our life-choices).
Matthew 4 v 12-25
Gospel writer Matthew quotes this passage from Isaiah and relates how he has witnessed it being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. Starting right where the prophets predicted, Jesus announces God’s promised kingdom is at hand, demonstrating His authority over sin and its consequences by healing illness and driving out evil. He urges people to change their ways for the better and invites them to follow Him, the King promised by God.
John 1 v 1-14
Another eye-witness John reflects on what he, Matthew and many others saw and heard, concluding that this carpenter from Nazareth was not just royal but somehow divine, God the Son entering His own creation in the flesh to bring us light, life, grace and truth! The introduction to this Gospel contains both a tragic missed opportunity - ‘his own did not receive Him’, and an amazing promise - ‘to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God’.
Revelation 19 v 11-16
Borrowing imagery from Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, the Apostle describes his series of late 1st century AD visions. Against a backdrop of harsh persecution he sees God’s Kingdom continue to grow and spread, culminating in the return of the righteous King in glory to bring a final end to all evil and reward His faithful subjects.
We may have reasons for sorrow in the short-term, but the ‘King of kings’ once laid in a humble manger assures believers of a secure and peaceful future which is cause for celebration!