More Than a Baby – Isaiah 11:1-10 12/06/20

More Than a Baby – Isaiah 11:1-10 12/06/20


There is little that could be more “Jewish” than celebrating the coming of the Messiah. He is the fulfillment of the Jewish prophesies, the Law of Moses points to Jesus as its fulfillment, in fact everything about the true celebration of Christmas is thoroughly Jewish. Note that I say “true celebration,” since there’s a lot that takes place in our culture that has very little, if anything, to do with the coming of the Savior of the world.


The historic context is interesting. The Jews had repeatedly failed to be faithful to God, and that was in spite of the nation’s supernatural deliverance from Egypt, and then repeated supernatural deliverance(s) from foreign oppression. And yet, they continued to reject their God. Because of this, God repeatedly spoke through the prophet Isaiah to warn them of coming judgment. We find that, within 150 years, these warnings come true and the people are taken out of the land and into exile. Israel’s failure to be faithful resulted in almost utter destruction; but our passage today tells them that judgment was not God’s final word to them. Deliverance is yet in their future.[1]


The picture that Isaiah gives us cannot be applied to a merely human king.[2] This King’s rule will be righteous simply because this King is the Son of God… and therefore endowed with the Spirit of God to justly administer its affairs.[3] Isaiah wrote that a very special child would be born to the people of Israel, this is recorded in Isaiah 9:6. Based on history and Scripture we can infer that this prediction can only be applied to one person, Jesus Christ; there’s no other historic figure that could in any way be understood to fill the role.[4] That prophesy was fulfilled in Luke 2:1-7.


But… how do we reconcile this child born in a barn, wrapped in rags, and laid in a manger, with this One foretold in Isaiah 11:1-2? Well, that’s what I want to talk about today. This One, the coming King, will usher in a reign that brings safety and security to the nations of the world.[5] The shoot/Branch stand as metaphors for the Messiah.[6] Now, since the coming of Jesus, the nation of Israel has been reestablished, in fact that happened twice. First in 143 BC when the Jews won their independence from the fragments of the Greek Empire. However, this did not last and the nation of Israel, as an independent state, did not come into existence again until 1948. But neither of these events produced the peace that was prophesied in Jeremiah 23:5-6.


The expression of the “Stump of Jesse” in Isaiah 11:1 points to humble beginnings.[7] It would require that the house of David be felled for their failure to be faithful, which is exactly what happened in 587 BC.[8] And so, we have One born into poverty who will one day be the King of the world. From His humble start a hidden power will bring about the purposes of God and the King’s state of humiliation will be followed by exaltation.[9]


The promised shoot from the stump of Jesse will be characterized by the presence, power, and breath of God.[10] The Father will consecrate and equip this promised King with, interestingly enough, the seven (7) Spirits.[11] This is the “Spirit of the Lord” [rȗaḥʹ yhwh] (יְהוָ֑ה ר֣וּחַ),[12] that is, the divine Spirit.[13] Everything about His leadership will testify to His supernatural empowerment.[14] The Spirit of God will so fill Him that He will be in complete harmony with God and His purposes.[15]


It is this One, this Branch from the tribe of Judah, that the seven Spirits of God, the fullness of God, is resting on.[16] The basis of His activity will be His intimate and experiential acquaintance with the Person of the Father.[17] It is this very same one who, under the power of the Spirit, perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father, then did for us what is unimaginable; Romans 5:8-9.


In order for this to happen it required someone who was fully human, and yet more than human. It was because of the human nature of our Lord that He abundantly received the sanctifying and enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit.[18] If you think about this, it’s going to mess with your brain because we’re dancing around the edges of the doctrine of “the Trinity” and the doctrine of “the Incarnation.”


You will not find this word “Trinity” in the Scriptures. But indications of its truth are laced throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Trinity is the word adopted by theologians to conveniently describe something very inconvenient about God, and that is the fact that He is beyond our ability to comprehend. That should not surprise you, we should expect that the Creator is more complex than the things created, and we as a union of the spirit and flesh are complex indeed.


This doctrine maintains that God is One being[19] revealed tri-Personally.[20] The Scriptures use the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to designate these Persons who are one indivisibly singular God.[21] Throughout the Old Testaments we find hints regarding this nature while maintain the utter singularity of God.[22] These hints begin in Genesis with God being described in the plural;[23] Genesis 1:1. Here “God” [Elohim] is plural. And yet, in this midst of this plurality we need to remember that God is singular, and the each member of the Godhead is not a part of God, each One is fully God.[24] All that is “God” is fully contained in each of the Persons of the Godhead. Each One is understood to be in, and to interpenetrate, the others, and each One contains the wholeness of God.[25]


All that one of the Persons of the Godhead does the other two Persons are always involved with. There is nothing that the Father does that the Spirit and the Son are not involved with, there is nothing that the Son does that the Spirit and the Father are not involved with, and each of the Persons are in complete harmony of purpose, plan, and execution.[26]


But there’s more involved, because when we address the Person of the Son, we also must consider the mystery of the “incarnation.” This doctrine states that the Person of the Son, designated as the second Person of the Trinity, is one Person with two natures, one divine and one human, inseparably united.[27] This is described in John 1:1-3 and John 1:14. It is the mystery of the incarnation that made it possible for the Son to die as a substitutionary sacrifice for each of us.[28] If He were not fully human He could not stand as our substitute. It because of His full humanity that He always works in subordination to the Father while being, in His nature, co-equal with the Father.


This is the One who we celebrate every single year while we wait for His return: our Savior Jesus, our King Jesus, our God Jesus.[29] When He returns, King Jesus will usher in a kingdom of peace and justice, it will be a rule where both nature and mankind will enjoy peace and security.[30] That’s still in the future, it was still in the future for Isaiah, is was still in the future for the first century Church, and it remains in our futures.


But here’s the thing, even God cannot put the cart before the horse. God is a God of order and He knows exactly what has to be done, and He knows when to do it. Before the King could come, the Messiah had to come; Galatians 4:4-5. The promise goes all the way back to God’s promise to Abraham, and what God does to keep that promise is so beyond anything we could imagine, that people from all nations and tribes will flock to God through Jesus Christ.[31]


Our culture is OK (sort of) with the Babe in the manger. They are OK with a helpless child being remembered every year, sort of. But He was, and is, so much more than that. We cannot allow ourselves the mistake of celebrating the innocent and unthreatening child in the manger and forget that this very same One is also the very threatening King of glory. He has no illusions about who’s King and who’s not.


Certainly, celebrate Jesus’ birth, but remember that it was only the first of many miracles leading up to the one truly amazing gift; salvation: Ephesians 2:8-9.

[1] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 277-278. [2] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 278. [3] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 40. [4] John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 372. [5] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 277. [6] Barry Webb, The Message of Isaiah: On Eagle’s Wings, The Bible Speaks Today, OT series ed., J.A. Motyer, (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.: 1996), 74. [7] Barry Webb, The Message of Isaiah: On Eagle’s Wings, The Bible Speaks Today, OT series ed., J.A. Motyer, (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.: 1996), 75. [8] Gleason Archer, Jr., Isaiah, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book, Volume II, Job – Malachi, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Bok House, Grand Rapids, MI.; 1960), 137. [9] F. Delitzsch, Isaiah, Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 7, gen. eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 182. [10] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 279. [11] F. Delitzsch, Isaiah, Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 7, gen. eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 182. [12]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Is 11:2. [13] F. Delitzsch, Isaiah, Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 7, gen. eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 182. [14] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 279. [15] Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 376. [16] F. Delitzsch, Isaiah, Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 7, gen. eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 183. [17] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 280. [18] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Isaiah, vol. 1, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1910), 202. [19] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 83. [20] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical, and Doctrinal, ed., Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1924), 1124. [21] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 84. [22] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 85. [23] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 85. [24] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 90. [25] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 91. [26] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 91. [27] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical, and Doctrinal, ed., Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1924), 524. [28] J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology, Volume One: God, the World and Redemption, in Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective, Three Volumes in One, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 305. [29] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, gen. eds., R.K. Harrison and Robert Hubbard, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1986), 280. [30] H. L. Willmington, Willmington’s Bible Handbook (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 363. [31] John Goldingay, Isaiah for Everyone, Old Testament for Everyone (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2015), 52.

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