In the sermon this week (Isaiah 11:1-10), Isaiah prophesies that the coming Messiah would stand "like a banner for the peoples” (v.10, EHV translation).
That word, "banner", can evoke a couple of images. Synonymous with this term are words like "flag," "sign," or "signal" - something that draws attention.
Similarly, the concept of a "news headline" draws attention (A headline was/is? referred to as a "banner"). Back in the day of the newsies (newsboys), the job was to "carry the banner" - to shout the news headlines in order to sell the papers.
If our Savior stood as a headline for people to look at and read, that headline might be (based on the context of Isaiah 11:1-10):
Judge Pronounces World "Not Guilty" As Latest Verdict Claims mercy and compassion as basis for new pronouncement of innocence
This is big news! Especially as we think of the focus this week: Jesus as our Judge. But when we confess our sins to him, and approach the mercy of his court, we will find peace, for Jesus is also our Savior, who himself bore the guilt of our sins and was punished for them. With his resurrection from the dead, he now pronounces a verdict of innocence. Our sins are forgiven.
From our perspective as Christians, our job is not to “sell” the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But there is an important headline that we want to proclaim: “[Jesus] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5)
As the shepherds went out to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2), we have the same blessed opportunity to proclaim the news of salvation to those who don’t haven’t heard it yet. What a nice thought in this advent season: Let us carry the banner of salvation to all!