“How did Isaiah know that Jesus would be born as the true king of God’s people? The answer is that Isaiah saw Jesus enthroned in glory as the Savior from sin! The year was around 740 b.c., when a young priest named Isaiah went into the temple. He was sad and afraid because King Uzziah had died after 52 years as Judah’s king.”
One of our Christmas carols says that Jesus was “born a child and yet a king.” How greatly God’s people needed a king to deliver them from sin! It was to David that God promised a throne that would last forever (2 Sam. 7:13), but for so many years that throne had been empty. The line of David was like a tree that had been cut down, but the stump remained in the ground. So Isaiah foretold that “a shoot from the stump of Jesse” would arise “and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isa. 11:1). This was Isaiah’s Christmas promise: a descendant of David would rise unexpectedly to reign in the strength and power of God for salvation.
This promise was why the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke prove that he was born in the line of King David. Jesus’ lineage would be established by his father, and Joseph who adopted him as his own was a “son of David” (Mt. 1:20; see also Lk. 2:4). In this way, Jesus was qualified to fulfill what Isaiah foretold: “For to us a child is born, to us a son if given … . Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom” (Isa. 9:6-7). When Jesus was born, the house of David really was like a tree cut down to be nothing but a stump, but how great would be the king who rose from that royal lineage!
But how did Isaiah know that Jesus would be born as the true king of God’s people? The answer is that Isaiah saw Jesus enthroned in glory as the Savior from sin!
The year was around 740 b.c., when a young priest named Isaiah went into the temple. He was sad and afraid because King Uzziah had died after 52 years as Judah’s king. Imagine living your entire life under a single king, who had reigned for decades before you were born, but now he was dead! Isaiah saw this death as a crisis of sovereignty, because King Uzziah’s son Jotham was not a godly man. What would happen to God’s people? God answered by showing Isaiah that it really is Jesus who is king forever for our salvation. Isaiah 6:1 says: “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” We know this was Jesus because the apostle John said of Jesus that Isaiah “saw his glory and spoke of him.” When Isaiah went into the temple and saw the Lord enthroned as king forever, it was Jesus who he saw in his glory!
Isaiah’s vision of Jesus tells us three things about our Lord as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. First, Jesus is a glorious king who alone is sovereign over all. Isaiah writes: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1). Jesus was exalted before him and his glorious robes spread out so that no one else could have a place where he was. This shows that Jesus reigns alone as king and his glory fills all things. Isaiah also saw “the seraphim.” This word means “burning ones” and identifies glorious angels who serve in God’s presence. They each had six wings: two to cover their feet, showing humility before Jesus; two to fly, to show their readiness to serve him; and two to cover their faces, because even these amazingly glorious creatures cannot bear to see the full glory of Jesus’ majesty (Isa. 6:2). What a glorious king Jesus is!