About the smoldering wick card
When I’m trying to decide if I’m going to read a piece of fiction, I sometimes read the last page of the book first. If I like the ending, then I know it’s worth reading the whole book to get there. By the time I actually read the entire book, I forgot what I read before because the ending doesn’t make any sense without the context.
Actually, I think that reading the Bible is kind of like that—the ending doesn’t make any sense if you haven’t read the beginning. The New Testament is built upon the Old Testament. Matthew 12 is a perfect example. Matthew explains who Jesus is by quoting Isaiah 42. Isaiah 42 (and the following chapters) explain how the low-key, persistent work of the Deliverer will save the whole earth from the ravages of the Fall. Jesus didn’t make sense to many of His contemporaries because, for all their study, they didn’t understand the clues that the prophets had left for them about the identity of the Messiah. Many of those clues are in the form of images.
When I work on a card, I look for word pictures in Scripture and ways that I can link them to contemporary images so that the message connects in a new way. The snuffed-out candle on the enclosed card is metaphor for brokenness. We are all broken in some way. (See Revelation 3:14-17 if you don’t think so!)
But it wasn’t until I saw a picture of many lit candles that the end of this verse connected for me: In his name the nations will put their hope. We broken people become whole because of His touch. But it’s bigger than us. The work of Christ has universal ramifications. There are many, many people, far beyond our counting, who will come to know Christ someday.