TODAY’S READING: ISAIAH 9-11
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1
Jesse is listed in both the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. Therefore, Jesus is a shoot of Jesse’s stump. And, Jesus, the branch, would bear fruit. Jesus would bear fruit because the fullness of the Spirit would be upon him. Notice that in verse 2 there are seven aspects of the Spirit upon Jesus:
- of the Lord
- of wisdom
- of understanding
- of counsel
- of might
- of knowledge
- of the fear of the Lord.
In Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3, after Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended upon him like a dove. The number seven signifies spiritual perfection. And so, Jesus’ ministry was marked by spiritual perfection.
Therefore, as Isaiah 11:3 says, Jesus did not judge by what his eyes saw or his ears heard. Rather, Jesus judged by the Spirit with righteousness and equity for the poor and meek. Hence, two of the first three statements of Jesus’ first sermon (Matthew 5:3, 5) are “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
If with righteousness and equity is how Jesus judges, then what form does Jesus’ judgment take?
Isaiah 11:4 says, “And he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.” It’s that which comes from Jesus’ mouth and on his breath that strikes the earth and kills the wicked. In other words, it is Jesus’ word, not a literal rod or sword, that strikes the earth and kills the wicked.
And, therefore, it is not a literal killing of the wicked. Instead, Jesus’ word kills the old man. Jesus’ word separates soul from spirit. Jesus’ word destroys strongholds of the mind, lofty opinions, and every argument raised against the knowledge of God. As Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
What is the result of Jesus’ word that separates soul and spirit from which no creature can hide?
It is just as Isaiah 11:6-8 says. The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the young goat, the calf and the lion, the cow and the bear, the nursing child and the cobra – all enemies of one another – shall no longer hurt one another but lie down together. There will peace. Enemies will be loved.
Isaiah 11:9 says, “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” The holy mountain is God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom will cover the earth. Therefore, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord. And, when you are full of the knowledge of the Lord you know that there is no hurting or destroying in God’s kingdom.
When will all of this take place? When will the root of Jesse shoot forth?
Isaiah 11:10 says, “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples – of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.”
“In that day.”
There is that phrase again that Isaiah is so fond of. See my posts That Day Sin Was Taken Away and That Day: The Preservation and Inheritance of Life for more on the meaning of the phrase “that day.”
In his crucifixion, Jesus would as a signal for the peoples. This wasn’t just any old sign. The Hebrew word for signal means a flag, a standard, or an ensign. In other words, something raise on a pole. It was when Jesus was raised on a pole, hung on a tree, that he became a signal for the peoples. Paul said in Romans 15:12, “And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.'”
Further, Isaiah 11:11 says, “In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people,
- from Assyria,
- from Egypt,
- from Pathros,
- from Cush,
- from Elam,
- from Shinar,
- from Hamath,
- and from the coastlands of the sea.”
When was the first time God extended his hand?
In the exodus when God brought Israel out of Egypt by his mighty hand. So, “that day,” the day Jesus was crucified, God would extend his hand a second time to deliver his people from the world. Jesus’ crucifixion would be a second exodus.
And, notice that the second time God extended his hand he would recover his people from eight places. Eight is the number of new beginnings. “That day” there would be a second exodus and new beginning.
Also, notice that verse 10 applies to the Gentiles and verse 11 to Israel. Then verse 12 says, “He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel and the gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Here again in this verse the nations, or the Gentiles, are mentioned first then Israel. Or as Paul said in Romans 11:25, “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
Indeed, Jesus, the root of Jesse, is a signal. For the peoples, for the nations, for the Gentiles. Then for Israel.