When Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom, his Jewish listeners would undoubtedly have thought of King David's restored dynasty. In the glory days of Israel, David (and later his heir, Solomon) had reigned over God's people. After Solomon's death the kingdom was split into northern and southern factions. This was followed by numerous captivities and deportations beginning with the Assyrian assault upon the northern kingdom and the Babylonian assault on the southern kingdom over a century later.
Israel was subjegated to various pagan nations in the centuries that followed. Most Jews were persecuted and many were dispersed throughout the known world. By the time of Jesus, the nation of Israel was under Roman occupation.
The prophecies of Isaiah would have given Israel hope in these dark times. The prophet spoke of a restoration of David's dynasty. Isaiah described this restored kingdom as a reign of justice, equity, and fairness. Hope would be restored to the oppressed and marginalized. When Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom, people would naturally have expected an advancing reign of deliverance and justice. Much of Jesus' teaching on the kingdom has its roots in Isaiah's vision for a just and equitable society.
Matthew saw Jesus' kingdom proclamation in the context of Isaiah's words about light dawning upon the valley of the shadow of death (Matt. 4:15-17). In the Isaiah passage, the light dawns as an heir of David takes the throne and upholds a kingdom of justice (Isa. 9:7). With this Isaiah passage applied to Jesus' kingdom preaching, Matthew's readers would rightly expect a kingdom which restores justice.
Isaiah 11 is yet another passage which anticipates a Messianic deliverer on David's throne. With righteousness he will judge the needy and with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth (Isa. 11:4-5).
Isaiah 42 also anticipates an anointed deliverer who will bring forth justice and establish it upon the earth (Isa. 42:1-4). Matthew 12:18-21 applies the passsage to the ministry of Jesus who will neither break the bruised reed, nor snuff out the smoldering wick. He'll be a friend to the abused and downtrodden. The larger context of Matthew 11 and 12 portray Jesus as a healer of the sick (12:15), who prioritizes human need above the letter of the law (12:1-14), inviting the weary and burdened to come to him for rest (11:28-30).
By these actions, Jesus leads justice to victory as his good works demonstrate that the kingdom of God is advancing (Matt. 12:20, 28). So the kingdom of God is the realm in which justice for the helpless is established.
Still another passage of justice is found in Isaiah 61 which expresses the Lord's love for justice and his hatred for robbery and iniquity (Isa. 61:8). As with other Isaiah texts, the context points to a Messianic deliverer. He is anointed to preach good news to the poor (Isa. 61:1). Jesus, citing this Scripture, identified himself as this anointed deliverer (Luke 4:18-19). His stated mission is to bind up the broken-hearted, free the captives, give sight to the blind, and to release the oppressed.
Jesus' mission was undoubtedly understood in the context of Isaiah's call for justice under a restored Davidic kingdom. How might the gospel continue to be good news for the poor, for those unjustly incarcerated, for the dominated, and even for the sick?