Christmas is a few days from now, and you might be reading or listening to the Christmas story from Luke 2. This is the third Christmas season for the Believe & Speak podcast, and I’ve done episodes in the past that covered the familiar story of shepherds on a hillside and a baby in a manger.
I looked up the verses in Isaiah that Matthew quoted in the scripture I read for this episode, and discovered that Matthew 12:21—the verse that inspired our declaration—wasn’t in Isaiah. In quoting Isaiah 42:1-4, Matthew wrote, “Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.” (NLT) That part is included in Isaiah’s prophecy, but then Matthew added, “And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Within the context of the Pharisees plotting to kill Jesus, Matthew explains that Jesus is the hope of all the world.
In last week’s episode, I mentioned there are three times as many prophecies of Jesus’s second coming. When Jesus began his earthly ministry, nearly everyone familiar with Hebrew scriptures—from the disciples to the pharisees—expected a different kind of messiah. The baby born in Bethlehem came to us as a humble servant. He didn’t fight or shout. He didn’t crush the Romans or sit on a throne in Jerusalem.
The true light that gives light to everyone came into the world as a helpless baby and never wielded a weapon. He fulfilled the scriptures, but the scriptures about His second coming overshadowed and outweighed them. The promise of a messiah who would conquer, rule and reign gave the people of Jesus’s day hope that they would one day be set free from the oppressive Roman government. But the hope of Jesus extends far beyond the Roman Empire and transcends time. This Christmas, as you sing the good tidings of comfort and joy, as you worship the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, as you give and receive gifts in celebration of the season, may you embrace the fact that Jesus is the hope of all the world.
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This week’s scripture: Matthew 12:14-21