Advent Devotion – Dec. 4: Promises about Jesus’ ministry

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)

This is certainly more verses than I normally use for a devotion but it is important to see them all together to see how specific they are about Jesus’ ministry. The reference to a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse (King David’s father) is a declaration that the Messiah would be a king from the line of David. The shoot (Jesus) came from a lineage that had been lost and replaced since the destruction of Jerusalem in 722 BC. There hadn’t been a king in Israel in quite some time. When Jesus was born, the Romans ruled the land. Jesus sprouted out of a dried stump as Israel’s King. The Spirit of God would rest on Him. We know that at His baptism the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. We know that He read the scroll of Isaiah 61 (“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me”) in the synagogue and declared it fulfilled in their hearing. We know that He was able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the hearts of those who came into His presence. We know that His heart went out to the poor and needy. He was ridiculed for hanging out with the tax collectors and sinners. His response was that only the sick know that they need a physician. He struck the world with His Word of Truth and the world hasn’t been the same since.

How can we read a text like this and be familiar with the Gospel accounts and not be completely in awe of how powerful and amazing our God is? Jesus’ ministry was exactly like Isaiah described that of the Messiah to be. But even more amazing is that God would send such a Messiah to us. We are selfish, sinful people who do not deserve His grace and providence but get it anyway because He is always true to Himself. His Spirit-empowered Word has breathed new life into our souls. He has given us the gift of His righteousness.

As I sit back and think about these Messianic prophecies I think about a divine plan or an intricate design. God put it all together and weaved it into history just like He wanted it to happen. How about your life? Are you certain there is a plan and a design? Are you living confidently that the Lord has this all figured out? Or are you worried and stressed out about what might be next? Stop and think about the prophecies. If God can pull off this kind of fulfillment, He can certainly provide purpose and direction to our daily lives.


Pastor Tom

About the author: Tom Donnelly