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Devotional: December 22, 2020

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11: 1-3 NRSV

Isaiah 11 begins by talking about “a shoot coming out of the stalk of Jesse.” The Jesse referenced here is the father of King David. The Jewish people believed that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.

The Gospel of Matthew picks up on this prophecy by listing a genealogy for Christ. David and his father Jesse are mentioned in Matthew 1:6. We know that the genealogy of Jesse is recorded back to Adam, and the genealogy of Jesus is recorded to Jesse. Thus, the prophecy and birth of Jesus was planned from the beginning of the creation of humanity. The Lord knew we would need a savior, and the Lord knew the character and lineage of the Messiah.

After talking about the parentage and genealogical heritage of Jesus, the passage shifts dramatically in verse 2. Instead of talking about

Christ’s ancestors, the passage speaks of Christ’s qualities.

Among Christ’s qualities and attributes are the following;

Wisdom

Understanding

Wise Counsel

Might (Courage)

Knowledge

Fear (Awe)

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but merely illustrative.

What does all of this mean? In some ways, this Old Testament prophecy is a perfect example of who Christ is:

Christ brings together the human (Davidic heritage and lineage), and the divine (supernatural wisdom and understanding and knowledge).

Both fully human and fully God, Christ was in a unique position to understand us, and to minister to us, and to save us.

When Jesus begins his ministry, he reads from a scroll in a synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. Although he reads from a later chapter in Isaiah (61), the essence of what Jesus reads at that time is the opening line of verse 2: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on Him.”

Isaiah 61

1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me

because God anointed me.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor,

heal the heartbroken,

Announce freedom to all captives,

pardon all prisoners.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace—

a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—

and to comfort all who mourn,

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,

give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom,

a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”

planted by God to display his glory.

They’ll rebuild the old ruins,

raise a new city

out of the wreckage.

They’ll start over on the ruined cities,

take the rubble left behind and make it new.

You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks

and foreigners to work your fields,

But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”

honored as ministers of our God.

You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,

you’ll bask in their glory.

Because you got a double dose of trouble

and more than your share of contempt,

Your inheritance in the land will be doubled

and your joy go on forever.

When Jesus read these words, He was not boasting about who He was, Instead, He was preparing the people of Nazareth just as He does today. Who He was, and who He is, is One for all of us. Jesus knew that God’s spirit rested upon Him. We celebrate that Spirit as we continue to prepare ourselves to celebrate His birth…

Prayer

Lord, from the beginning of time, You have laid out a path for me to follow. May I have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the feet to follow, the direction You desire for me. Thank You for caring so deeply for me, that You sent Your most precious Son to guide me, and to sacrifice His life for all my sins.

With a grateful heart I pray his prayer in His holy name, for He is my Savior, Amen


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