In chapter 60 we seem to leap ahead from Christmas to Epiphany, with the mention of gold, frankincense and kings – presumably the inspiration for the coronation of the magi in popular tradition.
Here, though, it’s more about the submission of the nations to the LORD than it is about long journeys in devout worship. Isaiah concludes with the vision of the vindication of Israel as a side-effect of the glorification of the LORD – justice and peace will be established, but it seems that they will come by force.
It’s in this setting that we get Isaiah 61:1-3, which Jesus quoted (Lue 4) to set out his mission. Again, reading it in context makes more sense of the anger of his hearers when he stopped part way through – just before the proclamation of old news for the oppressed turns to the day of vengeance of our God.
Jesus brings in the kingdom without the slaughter of nations. He reinterprets the old prophecies and fulfils them – bringing peace by a life of peace, and righteousness through a life without sin, not by a sword.
Perhaps that’s why he was worthy of the journey, the gifts and the worship of the Magi.