As we move closer to Christmas Day we come to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah is widely regarded as one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. His name means “YHWH (the LORD) is salvation.” He lived in Jerusalem and the prophecies God gave him were directed toward Israel, Judah and other nations. Jewish tradition says he was of royal descent, and he may have been a cousin to King Uzziah. This may have given him access to the kings of Judah in Jerusalem.
Almost one-third of the 66 chapters of the book of Isaiah contain prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. The following are some prophecies that Isaiah gives regarding the Messiah:
- “He shall judge between the nations” (Isaiah 2:4).
- He was to be the “Branch of the Lord” (Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:1).
- He would be born of a virgin and be called “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:8, 10).
- He would be a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (Isaiah 8:14).
- An eternal “government will be upon His shoulder” and He would be called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
- The Holy Spirit would “rest upon Him” (Isaiah 11:2).
- He would be “a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (Isaiah 28:16).
It is because of these prophecies that Isaiah is read in the time of Advent, as we prepare for the coming of the Messiah. For the people of God at the various times that Isaiah is writing, the coming of the Messiah, the one who would save them, was the only hope they could look towards whilst in exile.
The images that Isaiah gives, particularly in this passage, speak of a Messiah who will be a servant to all. He will bring justice for all and will not cry when he is treated badly because of this. The work of this suffering servant will bring light to the whole world. Old things will pass and the new will arrive. A time for us all, the time of the Son of God, Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace, the coming of the Christ Child.