Archive for December 7th, 2009

8th MESSIANIC SYMBOL for the Advent Season: Root

December 7, 2009

DECEMBER 8:  Isaiah 11:1, 10

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. . . . On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a signal for the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious (NRSV)

Alex Haley wrote the book Roots in order to understand something about the family he came from. He traced his family back to the slave plantations of the mid-1800’s and from there back to Africa. The book is the story of his family—of his roots. Many people are interested in learning about their family roots.

Long before God sent His Son, He was establishing family roots for Jesus. In Abraham and Jacob (or Israel) God chose a nation into which His Son, the Messiah, would be born. In Judah, God chose a tribe; in Jesse (the father of King David), a family line. Jesus’ roots were in the family line of Jesse and David, and of Abraham, Jacob and Judah.

By the time of Jesus’ birth, though, the family of David resembled a stump—like a tree that had been cut off. David’s descendants no longer ruled the Jewish people. Since the “tree” had been cut off for so long, no one was expecting new growth from it. Later on Isaiah (53:2) tells us that Jesus was “like a root out of dry ground.” Not only was the tree seemingly dead, but the ground was dry and unproductive. The sprouting of a new shoot from Jesse’s roots was not something anyone was expecting.

The “dry ground” foretells the humble beginnings of Jesus’ life on earth. Though he was born into the royal family of Israel, he was not born in line for the earthly throne. Instead of being born in a palace, he was born in a stable, where an animal’s feeding trough became his bed. His earthly father was not a rich, important man, but a humble carpenter.

Even though Jesus had humble beginnings, Isaiah tells us that He “will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.” Already there are people from all over the world who believe in Jesus, and someday in the future everyone will see His glory and bow down to Him.

Jesus calls Himself a root in one of the very last verses of the Bible (Revelation 22:16): “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” He is telling us that He is the root promised by Isaiah hundreds of years before the first Christmas. Your family roots are important, but whether or not you are rooted in Jesus matters even more.

O Morning Star, how fair and bright
thou beamest forth in truth and light,
O Sovereign meek and lowly!
Thou Root of Jesse, David’s Son,
my Lord and Master, thou has won
my heart to serve thee solely!
Thou art holy,
fair and glorious, all-victorious,
rich in blessing,
rule and might o’er all possessing.
                         Philipp Nicolai (1566-1608)

Thank God for Jesus’ family heritage for your own family heritage, and for your heritage in Jesus’ family.

Ask God to help you to fly the banner of Jesus’ love so that others might want to be adopted into His family.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign to the people,
before whom kings shall shut their mouths
and the nations shall seek:
Come and deliver us and do not delay.

9th century author unknown