Isaiah: The Root of Jesse
“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” (Isaiah 11:10).
Isaiah referred more to the Holy Spirit than any other Old Testament prophet. In chapter 11 he predicts the fullness of the Holy Spirit will rest on the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the “shoot” growing from the “stump of Jesse.” In those days Assyria had nearly destroyed Judah, cutting it down to the size of a stump. Though Assyria and her allies seemed like a mighty forest, the Lord promised He would one day cut them all down (Isaiah 10:33-34). The Assyrian empire would fall, to be replaced by another one much greater—the worldwide empire of the Messiah.
But where will the Messiah come from? He will be a tiny shoot from the forgotten stump of Jesse (father of David). God promised in 2 Samuel 7 that a descendant of David would rule over the house of Israel forever. Though it seemed unlikely at the time, God’s Ultimate Ruler would indeed come from Judah, from the very line of David. Isaiah predicted Christ would be a “Branch” bearing fruit, that is, a ruler who would prosper and benefit many people. A few verses later Isaiah called him the “Root of Jesse.” Christ is therefore the tender shoot who is also the Root who is also the Branch.
When Paul quoted this verse in Romans 15:12, he said of Jesus, “In him will the Gentiles hope.” A young couple felt called to spread the Good News to those who had never heard it. They ended up going to a place so remote that you had to take nine plane flights plus a bus ride plus hike into the mountains to get there. They did it to reach a tribe that had never had a written language. They learned the language, reduced it to writing, and began translating the Bible. As they told the story of creation to their tribal helper, he became very excited. When they spoke of Adam and Eve, he nodded his head because it made sense that God started with just one man and one woman. When they told about how the serpent had tricked Eve into eating the fruit and how Adam ate it also, he was sad. When he heard about the severe penalty for sin, he understood the message. And when he heard about Cain killing Abel, he nodded in agreement because the men of his tribe killed each other. Finally he said, "I know there must be a Redeemer. There must be someone who can help us. Tell me. What is his name?" That's the question of the ages. The world needs a Redeemer, and we know his name. There is hope in the name of Jesus. He is the light of the world and the Savior of all who trust in him.
When people come to Jesus Christ, they find one thing they can’t get anywhere else--hope. God calls us to be people of hope because his heart is big and includes all the people of the world.
Loving Lord, make me an agent of hope wherever I go today. Amen.
Musical bonus: In the spirit of today’s devotion, let’s listen to Go Tell It on the Mountain by Pentatonix.