The Branch of the LORD - Isaiah 11:1 - 12:6

This is a sermon by Lee McMunn from the Riverside Church service on 16th November 2014.

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The Branch of the LORD

Isaiah 11:1-12:6

 

Why am I a Christian? Multiple reasons converging together. One of them is the fulfilment of Old Testament predictions.

 

Now what we have in front of us this morning is one of those spectacular long-term predictions. Certainly my prayer is that we all know more than ever that the Christian faith is reasonable faith. But that as we look at this together our hearts will be freshly filled with joy as we are presented with lots of information about who Jesus is, what Jesus is like and what Jesus can achieve.

 

To help us navigate through these verses we’re going to break them down into three sections.

 

  • The promise of a person (11:1-5)
  • The promise of peace (11:6-9)
  • The promise of a people (11:10-12:6)

 

The promise of a person (11:1-5)

 

Introduced to him in vs 1. Read vs 1.

 

Do you like family trees? Many are interested in discoveing their roots.

 

What about this person mentioned in vs 1? He is from the stump of Jesse. What does that mean?

 

Who was Jesse? The father of King David.

 

Why does it say the stump of Jesse? It emphasises that when he emerges the dynasty of David will not be very impressive at all. The crown and the country will not turn any heads in the street. Small and insignificant.  Out of this will emerge a significant and strong King. A future leader of God’s people. And this is the person Christians normally refer to as the Messiah or the Christ.

 

What we have here is a long term prediction about the future arrival of the Christ!

 

How would this person be identified? Vs 2-5 are like a photo fit description.

 

  • He would be full of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Spirit would enable him to do certain things…
    • Wisdom and understanding
    • Power deeds
    • Knowledge of people
    • Fear of the LORD – a reverence for God

 

Who is the promised person? You only need to read some of the gospels to see that Jesus perfectly fulfils this description.

 

  • John the Baptist. I saw the Spirit descend and remain on him.
  • Jesus’ wise answers to questions.
  • He knew what people were thinking. Luke 7. Simon the Pharisee. Speaking to himself. Jesus answered him.
  • Many powerful miracles.

 

All this demonstrates that Jesus is he promised Messiah, full of the Holy Spirit.

 

If you are still thinking about following Jesus let me say two things at this point.

 

  • There is evidence to believe
  • Living under his rule is fantastic. It is not a bad thing.

 

If you are a Christian, let me also say two things.

 

  • Strengthen your faith by looking again at the promises.
    • I was reading something John Piper wrote. He does the same thing.
  • Becoming more like Jesus as we are filled by the Spirit. Jesus was unique but there are similarities. The Spirit shaped Jesus. The Spirit shapes us

 

That’s the promise of a person.

 

 

The promise of peace (11:6-9)

 

There is a focus here on one of the outcomes of the arrival of the Messiah. I think it taps into our inner longings.

 

For example, look at vs 6. Read vs 6. The animals chilling out together. You take children to the zoo but you don’t open the lion cage, give the kids a piece of rope, and ask them to take the lion for a walk.

 

Or what about verse 8? Read vs 8. You would never let children play by the next of a viper. Can you imagine explaining that to social services?

 

This is the description of a world at peace. Without danger and death. We long for such a world. The promise here is that at some point the Messiah would create such a world.

 

There are different aspects of peace mentioned in the bible.

 

  • Vertical peace. Remember the message the shepherds heard in Luke 2.
  • Horizontal peace. In the church.
  • Cosmic peace. The whole creation liberated from its bondage to decay.

 

The first two aspects of peace are available now.

 

But this cosmic peace that we also long for will not be available until Jesus returns again – however, make no mistake about it. It is definitely something on the heavenly radar.

 

So put your hope in it and get excited by it.

 

The promise of a people (11:10-12:6)

 

This promise relates to a people that are going to be gathered around Jesus.

 

I want to answer two questions.

 

  • Where will they come from?
  • How will they live?

 

Where will they come from? Look at vs 10. Read vs 10.

 

A banner for the peoples. A rallying point. A place to gather.

 

A banner in war. Troops would know where they could run to for safety and security.

 

The promise here is that the nations will come to the Jewish Messiah.

 

We’re told that his place of rest will be glorious.

 

The place of rest he offers for weary people. Also used of the promised land. Christ himself. Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

How will this be done? How will the nations hear of this possibility? The gospel goes out. People take it and people hear it.

 

But I love the emphasis in verses 11 to 16. It is stressed repeatedly that God will do it. He will certainly use means but he himself will powerfully draw people to Jesus. Let me show you a few examples.

 

  • Read vs 11
  • Read vs 12
  • Read vs 15

 

That’s who belong to this people. All sorts of people who are gathered to the Jewish Messiah.

 

What kind of people do we expect to be gathered? Everyone. Class, culture and colour.

 

How will these people live? Two aspects are mentioned in chapter 12.

 

  • A people who praise (12:1-3)
  • A people who proclaim (12:4-6)

 

First, a people who praise.

 

Read 12:1-3.

 

A people responding to their salvation. They recognise they deserved the anger of God. They understand that somehow God has sorted out the problem. As a result, they are so thankful.

 

I love what is said in vs 3. “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

 

As you draw out for the huge well of salvation you will do it with joy. Why? Because the truths in this well are full of joy. Not do it yourself. But grace. Not feel guilty. But Jesus has done it all. Children of God.

 

Are you experiencing a lack of joy? Are you drawing from the wells of salvation?

 

That should turn itself into praise. 

 

Secondly, a people who proclaim (12:4-6)

 

Look at vs 4. Read vs 4-6.

 

There is a stress here on making known what we know. The Cross-examined mission.
 

Let’s pray.

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