#4: The Story Begins With Promises

Matthew 1:22-23

All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

Luke 1:55

according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Isaiah 53:3-6

He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Time to travel back in time. Where does the Jesus story actually begin? Follow the river backwards and you find its source is a tiny spring. Follow the deep and wide flow of Jesus’ miracles, teachings, crucifixion and resurrection back to its source and you pass through his childhood, nativity, shepherds and angel messengers. Eventually you get right back to a few prophets living hundreds of years before Jesus.

Daniel, Micah and Isaiah were around in Old Testament days. They were prophets. Their eyes were fixed on what was going on around them, seeing the corruption, the injustice, the failed religion. Their hearts and minds were rooted in God, in his truth, his teachings, and his plans. They had a deep conviction that God was all loving and in control and armed with this awareness they peered into the misty future to try and pick out God’s ultimate intentions. They looked beyond the struggles of their own days to a future time when God would send a special person. The coming man will be a chosen by God ‘new King David’, a second ‘Moses-like leader’, a ‘Messiah’.

In Jesus’ day the Jews were desperate for the arrival of this promised one. They had been waiting for hundreds of years. They imagined him to be a conquering hero, a new king sent to reign on David’s throne. They had never fully understood the prophecies of a servant, a son of man, one to shine a spiritual light, one destined to suffer, one born to give.

They wanted one who would conquer
He came as one to suffer
They were looking for a lion
He was coming as a lamb
They wanted someone to force out the Romans
He was the sent one to drive out the demons
They wanted power
They got peace
Wanted victory
Got humility
Wanted an empire
Got a kingdom

Like all parents, God the father had a special hope or purpose for his son. He wanted him to change the world, but he wanted even more. He planned for, not just a servant person but a whole servant people. When we align ourselves with the promised Son of God, we become a part of the promised people of God, we become servants, lantern-bearers and world-changers with him.

Lord God,
Help me to become like Jesus.
You sent him to this world,
To be a servant,
To bring peace,
To shine a light,
So send me to my world,
To serve,
To pacify,
To shine,
For you.