The Branch

Isaiah 11:1-4

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (11:1). Jesus is often called a “shoot” or a “branch” in the scriptures (Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 3:8). Similarly, He is called the “vine” in John 15:1. Without a doubt, we get all life from Christ – He not only helped create the world (John 1:1), but also is the true life-giver (Colossians 1:16, Acts 17:25). Also, let us take note of the fact that the prophecy describes a man who would come from the line of Jesse, that is, David’s father. From this, it is clear that the true Messiah would come only from that line of people. Not coincidentally, Jesus was a descendent of the family of David (Matthew 1:6).

“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him...” (11:2). We read in Matthew 3:16-17 that the Spirit literally came down out of Heaven and rested on Jesus after His baptism. This is not to say that the Spirit only came upon Him at this time, but that it was simply a very beneficial time to display such a state.  “The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (11:2). What a spirit! Christ maintained such a spirit of complete godliness that He lacked nothing.

“And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear...” (11:3). It is likely that this prophecy is referring to the ability that Christ had to know and discern the hearts of men, and not just the outside manifestations of their intent. On numerous occasions, Jesus looked deep into the soul of His accusers to know why they questioned Him. At other times, He used this ability to look into the souls of those who had faith in Him, to test them to see whether or not their intentions were pure. The lesson for us is that God knows what we are thinking. He knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12), and can decipher when we are legitimately following Him, or abusing our privileges as children of the Kingdom.

“But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked” (11:4). Truly, Jesus came to the world to save sinners (Matthew 9:12, 1 Timothy 1:15), so in that sense He came to judge all of the spiritually poor and afflicted of the world. What is so encouraging about this scripture is that it takes only our Lord’s breath to strike down the plans of the evil. With only words He can confuse them and dispel any ideas of success. This is similar to the image of Jesus in Revelation 1:16, in which Jesus is pictured as having a sword coming from His mouth.