Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Root of Jesse

Sunday, December 3 - Isaiah 11:1-11
(Second Sunday of Advent - Meditations on Advent Scripture Readings)

 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
   He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
   or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
   with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;

   with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 

5 Righteousness will be his belt
   and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,

   the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
   and a little child will lead them.
 7 The cow will feed with the bear,
   their young will lie down together,
   and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
   and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
 9 They will neither harm nor destroy
   on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD

   as the waters cover the sea.
 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

This scripture is the source of some of the lines in some favorite Christmas carols:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Verse 4
O come thou Root of Jesse’s tree
An ensign of Thy people be
Before Thee rulers silent fall
All peoples on Thy mercy call

Verse 8
O come Thou Rod of Jesse free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Has come to thee, O Israel

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose E’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As men of old have sung
It came a flower bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half gone was the night

 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

This is another prophecy of the Messiah. Jesse was the father of King David. The shoot from the stump of Jesse, the Branch bearing fruit, is Jesus. I love the description that is given of Jesus. It speaks of his

§  Wisdom
§  Understanding
§  Counsel
§  Might
§  Knowledge
§  Not judging by appearances
§  Righteousness and justice
§  Providing justice for the poor and needy
§  Faithfulness

As Job said,

 Even now my witness is in heaven;

   my advocate is on high. (Job 16:19, NIV)

Jesus came to the world and taught and healed and suffered and died and rose again so that we could have abundant life here and now and eternally. He offers what we lack. We can turn to him for wisdom, understanding, counsel, justice, and righteousness. He is always faithful. And he has the might – the power, authority – to accomplish what is needed on our behalf.

This passage also looks forward to eternity, when peace will reign in all of creation. Conflict and violence will be gone.

for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

That phrase fills my heart with longing and comfort (and gives me goose bumps) every time I read or hear it.

The concluding verse is rendered beautifully in the New Living Translation:

10 In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
“The land where he lives will be a glorious place.” As I prepare for Grandma Layton’s funeral (Don’s grandmother), this is a beautiful and comforting thought indeed.
Do you need wisdom, understanding, counsel, an intervention of might, justice, or righteousness? These are the things Jesus, the root of Jesse, the heir to David’s throne, has brought to us. May his attributes be evident in your life today.


  1. It brings peace to my Spirit to think on when the predator and prey will one day lye alongside each other in peace. There will no longer be fear of danger or threat. Since my Dad died, I have been reading Heaven Revealed by Paul Enns and he goes scripture by scripture about what Heaven will be like. Powerful and comforting.