As part of my 25 for 25 (25 devotionals leading up to 25 December), here is Day # 18: as part of our mini-Isaiah portion, we’re looking at Isaiah 11:1 today. It says,
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
Here, Isaiah slips over the Messiah’s lineage being from King David and goes to his father, Jesse. Why? Well, Isaiah couldn’t have known but by the time Jesus came to earth as the Messiah the line of David had ceased being kings and they were just peasants. But God knew. So the royal line started with Jesse who was a farmer and shepherd from Bethlehem and culminated back in Bethlehem with a peasant kid who was raised in a carpenter shop. Contrasts.
But what are the significances of using “Rod” and “Branch”? God implies the lineage of Jesse and David as a “tree” and by the time Jesus was born the lineage looked to be lost. But this is Israel – God’s chosen People. He keeps the right things intact. So there was still a “stump” and “roots” for Jesus to come from. And Jesus wouldn’t be another “root” or small “shoot” instead He would be the strongest “Branch.” We see God’s common contrast of royalty and poverty. Of worthy and unworthy. Of fully God and fully Man.
Next, in verses 3-5, it talks about the Messiah won’t judge by physical sight or hearing. But that’s all we know, so how will He judge? He will judge in spiritual “righteousness” as only He can. I love how the name Immanuel and Christmastime in general celebrate God coming down and being a human. And yet, Jesus is fully God and able to do everything we can’t do for ourselves!