An Ancestral Advent Day 12: The Son of Jesse.

Luke 3:32. the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz

Isaiah 11:1-2. 1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

You probably remember Jesse from the story of David and Goliath. Father Jesse sends David his youngest son to check on his older brothers who are off at war with the Philistines. While there David steps past his cowardly brothers, faces Goliath, and slingshots his way into immortality. Or maybe you remember the story of David’s anointing by the prophet Samuel. God sends Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint the new king of Israel. Seven sons of Jesse line up for review, God one by one rejecting them all. But then forgotten David comes in from the sheep pasture, God sees his heart, Samuel anoints him as the next king, and the rest is history.

What you may be less familiar with is Isaiah’s prophecy that invokes the name of Jesse: A green shoot will come forth from the stump of Jesse; a branch that bears fruit.

Isaiah’s is a prophesy of hope in a dark time. The nation of Judah faces the great and terrible war machine Assyria. They have already destroyed the ten northern tribes of Israel, and Judah appears to be next. We know that Judah will survive the Assyrian assault, but right behind them will come the fierce Babylonians. With each attack the great tree of David is being chopped down until only the “stump of Jesse” is left. No signs of Davidic glory will remain. Every branch dead or taken captive.

But out of this stump will grow a new tender branch. Like young David before him, the Branch will be a forgotten son from the little town of Bethlehem. No one of consequence. A young plant, a root out of dry ground (Is. 53). Chosen of God for his pure heart. The good shepherd of our souls. Conqueror of the great Goliath of sin and death. Deliverer of his people. Ruler of all things in the Spirit of wisdom.

And the cool thing about Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 11 is that it is not just about Jesus’ first advent, Christmas, but about his second advent, the Second Coming of Christ, that we are waiting for. The Branch of Jesse will rule in justice, striking the earth, bringing peace to the world. Wolves and lambs lying down together. Lions and cows graze nearby. Babies play with poisonous snakes. The whole earth knows God. Assyria and Egypt are united by a highway of peace. This is the advent we’re all still waiting for right now! The day when Christ returns for his remnant and carries us away to his promised land of salvation.

May the truth of a future peace in the presence of the Branch guide our hearts this advent season and beyond.

Questions.

Is the Christmas season a dark time for you? What gets you through the dark days? Can Isaiah’s prophecy bring you hope? What are you looking forward to the most when Jesus returns?

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