“The Branch from Jesse - Christ’s Birth and Peace are Foretold”
This passage of scripture is one of my favorites with regard to the prophecy of Jesus’ birth. It is normally read during the Advent season in worship services, lessons and carols services, or devotions. I have always loved the symbolism of the peace that Christ brings to the world (in verses 6-9), and that message of peace seems to become more relevant with each passing year and our world appears to be on the brink of utter chaos.
Jesse was the father of King David. Jesus was a descendant from David’s line so in that sense He was also a descendant of Jesse. One of the ways my family has observed the Advent season (and counted off the days of the season) in our home is by having a Jesse tree in our house. Years ago when my children were very young, they made little Jesse tree ornaments to decorate a small tree in our church’s office. When the decorators of the church decided to not use that tree anymore they returned the ornaments to my kids and we took them home using them ever since.
What is a Jesse tree? According to one source, “The Jesse tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: ‘A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.’ The Jesse tree helps us connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus’ birth. We adorn a Jesse tree with illustrated ornaments that represent the people, prophecies, and events leading up to the birth of Jesus.The ornaments of the Jesse tree tell the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting the Advent season with the faithfulness of God across four thousand years of history.”3
Christ brings order to our messy lives and peace to our troubled hearts and minds. Verses 6-9 use beautiful imagery of fierce beasts lying together beside their normal prey with no fighting or destruction to show the peace that Christ will bring to the world. How we long for the day verse 9 speaks of where the “earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Verse 10 tells us that Christ will be a banner for all people and that nations will rally to Him. We hope for that day. We yearn for that day. We NEED that day. Today pray that God will help you to allow the Lord to quiet you with His peace and comfort in your times of desperation and trouble.
3 Taken from http://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/advent/the-jesse-tree; accessed 8-9-17.
Isaiah 11:1-10 (ESV):
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.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.