Read Isaiah 52
Israel was in a tight spot. They’d been exiled and held captive in a far away land. When they returned, they found their homeland in ruins. Jerusalem lay decimated from the conquest of Babylon, and the people were beyond themselves in despair.
“These double calamities have come upon you — who can comfort you? — ruin and destruction, famine and sword — who can console you?” (Is. 51:19).
So the Lord used His prophet Isaiah to bring hope to His people. He stepped in with a word of hope, and 700 years later, His Son Jesus Christ stepped into the world with hope. Jesus, the promised Word who would bring forever salvation along with proclamation of peace that would endure throughout all generations. Even ours.
Jesus Christ, the hope of Advent.
What the prophet said had not yet come to pass, but he spoke as if it had already happened. That’s how sure God’s promise was. That’s how certain His Word.
A Savior was coming. Hope was on its way. Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come and rescue His people from despair and captivity. He would rescue people from their very sin. This is why we celebrate Advent — because the hope of Christmas is the promise of Easter.
“(A)nd the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:6b).
The Word God promised would bear the guilt of Israel. Every one of my faults. Every one of yours. He would be “led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Is. 53:7). He would be stricken and crushed by God Himself. (See vv. 8,10.) Though blameless, He would become a guilt offering. (See v. 10.) And God’s chosen people — the people of Israel and you and me — would be offered peace because of God’s plan. (See v. 5.)
God had worked out every single detail before He laid the foundations of the earth. This gives us security in His promises. To know He had our security and rescue planned before we ever knew we needed it gives hope where hope could otherwise not exist.
Because of His promise, His faithfulness, His Word, we have the hope of Advent, the hope of Christmas. And this changes everything.