There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 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. Isaiah 11:1-2
Following the reign of King David, the people of God, striving to live according to God’s Law, simply could not remain obedient and fulfill what the Law demands. Kings were corrupt and governed unjustly. Many were given to worship idols and Gentile armies threatened to overthrow the kingdom. It seemed the people had certainly angered God and incurred His wrath with exile and separation from God becoming the outcome. God’s people would suffer banishment from the land promised to their ancestor Abraham so long ago. Yet, in the midst of this, the Word of the Lord came to the prophet Isaiah who proclaimed God’s promise of hope.
Isaiah prophesied before the people that God would raise up one who would bring God’s justice and righteousness to those longing to live in the presence of God. This anointed one, or Messiah, would be born according to the royal line of Israel’s greatest King. He will govern according to God’s loving kindness and the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon His shoulders. Far removed from the days of Isaiah, today God’s people hear this prophecy of hope and give thanks for God’s keeping His promise in the person of Jesus Christ.
Because of sin and the powers of evil, humanity continues to struggle. Yet, as we continue to live in a fallen and broken world, God’s people have hope. Even as our sin separates us from our heavenly Father, through Christ our sins are forgiven. Through the sacrifice of His only Son, God has reconciled that which was lost and saved His people from the consequences of our disobedience. Through Christ and His victory at the cross, God’s people once again have the hope of living in God’s presence restored.
Born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary and according to the royal line of Israel’s greatest king, Jesus of Nazareth is God’s long awaited Messiah. He is the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Isaiah and through Him God’s people are saved. As we continue the Advent journey, we do so as sinners redeemed through the gift of God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Our thankful response to this precious gift is to praise God’s name, proclaiming to all the world that God has indeed kept His promise in the person who was given for the sake of all people, Jesus Christ who is Lord of all.
Stir up your power O Lord and come! Just as your prophet Isaiah proclaimed your promise of hose to your people, come into our hearts and minds that we may share the good news of your Son Jesus Christ with all whom we meet. This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.