1 A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse;
a branch will sprout from his roots.
2 The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him,
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of planning and strength,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
3 He will delight in fearing the Lord.
He won’t judge by appearances,
nor decide by hearsay.
4 He will judge the needy with righteousness,
and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land.
He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth;
by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be the belt around his hips,
and faithfulness the belt around his waist.
Over and over, as empires rose and fell in the Middle East, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah found themselves under threat. In every change, the people sought comfort in the promise of a savior – a righteous coming king – from the line and house of David. The reference to “the stump of Jesse” is because Jesse was the father of King David.
Today we recognize this scripture from Isaiah as predicting the coming of Jesus. It is Jesus who will restore the house of David. So when we read that “the Lord’s spirit will rest upon him,” we are hearing God’s approval of his Son, Jesus. It is Jesus “who won’t judge by appearances.” It is Jesus who will show true wisdom and strength through his words and his ways. Jesus’ life and ministry will be the truest testament to God’s righteousness and faithfulness. His promise is for those who are oppressed – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Long ago and far away, the prophet Isaiah spoke about the power of God to overcome all injustice. From long ago and far away, Isaiah’s words ring a bell of hope for the hurting by proclaiming the promise of Jesus. Jesus’ life will faithfully fulfill the prophecy, as the great Savior who entered into this world in the humblest of ways.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
The meaning of Jesus’ life transcends time, geography and circumstances. We find comfort through the words of Isaiah. In your own life, how does the timeless message of God’s love transcend the boundaries of your life? How do you find comfort in the scriptures written so long ago?
Prayer: Gracious God, we pause to recognize your son, Jesus, whose life and ministry help us to know true love shared for all. Through the words of the prophet Isaiah, we hear a message of hope that transcends time and place. Even in difficult days, help us to continue to lovingly share Jesus’ ways to provide peace and comfort to those who need to know it. Help us to truly know and search for the meaning of Jesus’ life in all that we do. Amen.