Saturday, October 15, 2011

Christmas is coming!

I can’t read this passage without thinking of Christmas.  It almost smells of Silent Night and Candles and candy canes and evergreen trees.  Doesn’t it?  We can almost recite the passage together:

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

The gospels tell us that Jesus came from David.  The Jews believed that too.

This next part is beautifully poetic,

The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

But I’m not sure that it fits with my theology.  Jesus WAS God, it wasn’t that the Spirit of God RESTED on him.  But as I read and pray more over these words, I realize a few things.  First of all, the Spirit of the Lord did rest in a human body.  The spirit of wisdom, understanding, power, might, and knowledge did come into human form.  Through Mary!  So, yes, this points to Jesus too! 

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

YES!  I bet to ancient ears, this rang true.  They were the poor, they were the meek!  They were in exile.  They wanted a savior to raise them up.

But to my ears, I think of Matthew 5.  The poor will no longer be the lowest class—but the exalted.  That’s the promise of Christ.  The poor will be rich.  The meek will be raised up!  How are we helping that promise of Christ?  Even more—are we like the ancient Jews assuming that we are the poor?  Or are we looking for the poor to love?

he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

This seemed to point to a righteous warrior.  But, Jesus kills the wicked in different ways—Jesus kills the wicked INSIDE of us.  He vanquishes the demons!  And he was righteous and faithful!  He IS righteous and faithful!  He will always be righteous and faithful!

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Then comes the section of backwardness.  The backwardness of God—That the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the baby goat, the calf and the lion, the child leading.  See, Jesus triumphed through suffering and death.  Jesus was made to lie down with the enemy.  But, he was not a young child to lead them…So, although I see the pointing to Jesus, I also see parts that aren’t exactly in line.

Then, skipping to the next session, comes:

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

The entire last section points to the warrior.  To the messiah conquering enemies.  To the lands of Judah and Ephraim working together.  To Israel being back in power and the enemies in the dust.

I can work to make this make sense and point to Jesus, but I’m not sure I’m convinced the argument is a good or fair one.  Jesus will conquer all enemies, but not the way this last section seems to indicate.

This section came at the right time for the weather to get crisper didn’t it?  It just makes me start to think of all the great festivities that are coming!

Pastor Emily 

1 comment:

mary said...

Jesus received the Spirit at His baptism. The Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and fear(respect) of the Lord led Him. All of this is difficult for us to understand and is why the Trinity is a mystery to us.
Jesus the Messiah rules with justice righteousness on behalf of the poor. And if we have His Spirit in us we will work for justice as well.
The "backward" part describes the total peace that we will see when God's kingdom is finally established at the end of time. Animals and people will not need to hurt each other. We won't be jealous of each other anymore, like Ephraim(Israel) and Judah had been. When we are reconciled to God we can be reconciled with others, even our enemies. And Jesus the Root of Jesse will be our focus, like the banner (or flag) that led the armies of old, so we can be united with God and with each other.