The Scripture before us this week comes after Isaiah’s prophecy that the Lord would deal with His people’s enemies like a man chopping down trees in a forest.
A prophecy like that must have been encouraging to the people, but Isaiah had something even better to deliver in his prophecy – the foretelling of the Messiah.
The Lord would cause a Branch to grow from the roots of a stump called Jesse. This points us to the humble circumstances into which our Savior was born. The Messiah had been promised to the family of David, but a reference to David would have linked Christ Jesus to royalty. Instead, He is seen as a descendant of Jesse, a man of no particular distinction other than being the father of David.
When Christ was born, David’s royal line had been of no consequence for centuries, truly making Jesse no more than a stump and roots.
The prophecy tells us, “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 of the fear of the Lord.” The Branch would be no ordinary outgrowth from the stump. Rather than giving doubt as to its survival and productivity, the Branch would be full of promise.
He would be, according to Isaiah’s prophecy, full of life and the Spirit of the Lord. In Christ Jesus there is no deception. Secondly, He is absolutely wise. Next, He has perfect understanding, knowing all things in a person’s heart.
With the Spirit of counsel, Jesus is our perfect Guide. He has power over everything, and knowledge allows Jesus to know all things spiritually beneficial to His followers. His fear of the Lord is the great example for us of absolute submission to the will of the Father.
These things are lessons to us about the way we look at Christ Jesus. He left glory to come to earth, and in doing so, He gave up the nature He had in eternity. He allowed Himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit, teaching us He lived as a man filled with the Spirit. Jesus understands better than anyone anything we experience in this life.
As the perfect Judge, Christ Jesus does not look upon us as others because He sees beyond the physical characteristics of people. His judgment is always righteous and His words are powerful and convicting.
The reign of Christ one day will be characterized by changes difficult for us to comprehend. The predator and prey animal world we have always known will one day cease to exist.
Isaiah gave us a picture of this transformation when he wrote about the wolf and lamb living peacefully together. He pointed at the leopard and kid goat, and the calf and lion lying side by side. Animals will no longer live in fear of other animals, and there will no longer be fear between animals and people. “A little child shall lead them,” Isaiah said. There will be nothing in the animal kingdom that will bring harm to even the youngest of children.
The earth will be “full of the knowledge of the Lord” the prophet said as a way of telling us about the close relationship between the Lord and His creation.
We are thankful for the transforming power of Jesus now and in the future. Salvation in Jesus has reconciled us to God, and we pray that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.