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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke

The Shoot from Jesse’s Stem

The Shoot from Jesse’s Stem

(Used by Permission)

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. . .” (Isaiah 11:1–5).

Prophetic writings generally view big events without a linear timeline. In other words, when Isaiah begins his paragraph with “then,” we may think timeline, the next thing on the daily calendar. Instead, prophets foreshortened, seeing events in the Lord’s unfolding purposes ahead, giving enough details to be specific rather than vague, collapsing long periods of time into the next happening in God’s design. Isaiah 11 gives a clear example of this taking place. The prophet has explained the future destruction of Israel at the hands of Assyria as divine instruments of judgment. Then he declares the certainty of God’s judgment on Assyria. Writing before, yet near the fall of Israel, he foretells the coming destruction of the mighty Assyrian Empire. What seems like the flipping of the calendar instead involves several hundred years. This prophecy was meant to encourage Judah, to keep them from fearing the threat of the Assyrians who would soon be on their doorstep. The Lord would—and did—deliver them.

But Isaiah sees a bigger event in God’s unfolding purposes: the Messianic Age and consequent eternal kingdom. Chapter 11 reveals the coming of Jesus, the nature of His Messianic kingship in sharp contrast to the deficient rulers Judah had endured, and then the consummation of the kingdom. Then the wolf will lie down with the lamb in an eternal reign of peace, beauty, and satisfaction in everything, that never ends (vv. 6–16). However, in God’s mercy and purposes, we are living in verses 1–5 that describe the coming of Messiah and His gracious rule. Isaiah says of Jesus, “a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from the roots will bear fruit.” That’s a prophetic picture of Jesus born of the virgin from descendants of Jesse, David’s father. Mary descended through David to Solomon’s line; Joseph through David to Nathan’s line—thus the stem of Jesse. As a stem and a branch, Isaiah pictures the lowly condition at that point of the Davidic family who would be the line of Messiah. With brokenness, exile, and returning remnant, the Davidic heirs were not a mighty power ready to conquer ruling kingdoms. But just a stem, just a branch, the prophet declares, will spring from it—“a shoot,” the smallest, least significant in appearance, yet He would bear the fruit of Messianic reign.

Messiah would be unlike the previous kings, marked in distinction as having the divine qualities to reign over an eternal kingdom. “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,” so that the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus at His baptism and consequently living in the Spirit’s power identified Him. In Jesus we see “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” The Gospels describe the unparalleled wisdom of Jesus in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They describe the profound way that He counseled the multitudes through His teaching, and made known the very life of God leading to reverential fear of the Lord. Jesus’ life and ministry were marked by “delight in the fear of the Lord.” To see Him was to be in awe of God in the flesh. He judges in righteousness and fairness. He judges the wicked with finality. To describe His character and constant practice, Isaiah writes, “Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins (He is our righteousness), and faithfulness the belt about His waist (He is Faithful and True). Forever, Jesus stands “as a signal for the peoples (plural, Jews and Gentiles); and His resting place will be glorious.” This One is our Savior and King, the shoot springing from Jesse’s stem.

A Devotional from the pen of Pastor Phil Newton of the South Woods Baptist Church Memphis, TN located at

(Used by Permission)

Brought to you by Dr. Roger D Duke and The Inverted Christian located at

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