In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
I read an article on Forbes the other day that was titled, “Death of a City, The Portland Story?” It was about how near “death” Portland is because of bad policies, violence, crime, homelessness, and drugs. It painted a pretty bleak picture of our city. It got me thinking, is it really that hopeless? Is it really that bad? Sure, there are problems, but our entire country has problems. What can we do? What is the Church supposed to do? We hope, that is what the Church always does.
Isaiah was tasked with a very difficult mission – to go and prophecy to a very stubborn people and tell them to repent and turn back to God. In his message to them he tells them one day Jesus will come, peace will arrive, and the land will be a glorious place. This, of course, was a “not yet” word to them. It was something they could look forward to and reassurance that God had not forgotten them.
When we read this same word, we generally take it to mean “not yet” as well, even though we know Jesus has come. I want to argue that this prophetic word from Isaiah, for us, is not just a “not yet” word but also an “already” word. Jesus has already come. He has already brought His Kingdom. He has already set His plan of redemption in motion. Jesus has already given us hope for today and hope for tomorrow. He will, one day, complete it and we will experience His peace to the full. But, in the meantime we can experience His peace right now.
While we live in a world that has it’s fair share of darkness, pain, and brokenness we don’t have to settle for that. We can hope for more. We should hope for better. Why? Because Jesus is here and Isaiah said where Jesus is the land will be a glorious place. We need to have hope in the present and the future. The Good News of Jesus is that He came to heal us now, free us now, and assure us of a better future that starts today.
If you are a follower of Jesus you have a responsibility – not to run from the darkness but to take hope there. We, as the Church, are supposed to be the ones living in (and being an example of) God’s Kingdom today. But, maybe before we can do that, we should ask God to renew our hope too.
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.