The Root Of Jesse (Part Two)

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1). The Messiah is sometimes called a “shoot” or a “branch” in the scriptures (Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 3:8). Similarly, Jesus 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). Consider:

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).

The “stem” of Jesse can also be thought of as the “stump”, that portion of the tree that is left behind when its glory has been stripped. Even in this humble state, however, there was potential. It was a typical practice among olive-growers that when an olive tree became unfruitful, they would chop it all the way down to the stump. This seemingly traumatic action actually resulted in new stems growing, thus promoting fruitfulness and renewal.

This prophecy is not chiefly referring to material blessings in Judah, since the rest of the chapter makes it clear that something more substantial is under consideration. In Isaiah’s lifetime, there were good kings (Uzziah, Hezekiah, etc.) as well as very bad kings (Ahaz, in particular). But even during the best of times, such as the reign of Uzziah, Isaiah constantly speaks of the hypocrisy and wickedness of Judah.

“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him...” (Isaiah 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 was always with Christ, for it was at His disposal whenever He needed it. He could perform any miracle, know anything and everything from the hearts of other people, and understood the past, present, and future simultaneously. “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! There is balance and fairness in all the qualities described, and no shortcomings.