The Branch – Isaiah 11

Isaiah and other prophets sometimes referred to the coming Messiah as a “Branch”.

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
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 of the fear of the Lord.  Isaiah 11:1-2 NKJV

Later, Zechariah also used this term in his prophecy:

‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest,
You and your companions who sit before you,
For they are a wondrous sign;
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold, the stone
That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.  Zechariah 3:8-9 NKJV

The Lord planted the nation Israel as His toehold for the kingdom of God to grow and multiply throughout the earth, a faithful witness to His power and goodness.  He tended Israel’s rich soil as a garden, with the holiness of His pure commandments and generous abundance.  From Israel’s genealogy of Abraham through David’s father Jesse, God nurtured the roots of His chosen lineage of King, the line of Judah.

God told David that He would always have a king on his throne to rule over the earth with a Spirit of true justice, equity, and righteousness.  This King would rule with God’s goodness, knowledge and understanding, and would, in fact, be Immanuel, “God with Us”.

Isaiah refers to the Branch as coming with the Spirit of God resting on Him, along with six divine attributes, while Zechariah describes Him as a stone with seven eyes.  Seven is often regarded as the number of God, the number of completeness, and these images are another way that the coming Messiah is prophesied to be God Himself.

Unfortunately, like the rest of us, Israel failed this mission.  Their kings and people quickly turned away from God to the worship of idols and to their own ways.  As a result of turning their backs upon God, first the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the invading Assyrians, then later, Judah would fall to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire.

Despite this chastening, God would never give up on Israel.  Their kingly line might have failed, but as revealed through Isaiah and the other prophets, God knew all along that He would need a better plan.  He would place His own Messiah on the throne to rule not only over the nation of Israel, but over the entire world.  The tree of Jesse’s line might have been cut off, but God’s Branch would spring up from its roots, spreading salvation throughout the entire world.

When Jesus Christ came into the world in fulfillment of these prophecies, He came full of the Holy Spirit and its fruits.  Through His cleansing death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus removed all the iniquity of that land in one day.  We are all able to lay claim to this eternal cleansing through faith in Him.  We are then grafted onto these Holy roots, no matter our own origin, personal history, or background.  Jesus came into the world He loves to save sinners, and for that we all qualify and need His redemption.

Reflection

The root of Jesse has given sprout to God’s Branch, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Jesus loves each one of us deeply and is calling us into a personal relationship with Him.  Do you know Him?  If you do not or have been walking far away from Him, do not hesitate to run to Him today.

Dear Lord, graft us into Your Holy Branch from the root of Jesse through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.  We acknowledge the goodness and purity of your commandments and recognize that we have fallen well short of them, following after our own selfish ways.  Only Jesus was able to live a life in pure fulfillment of these, and we reach out to Him and His sacrifice on the cross to cleanse us, removing all of our iniquity in one day.  We thank you, asking this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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