Summary: A teaching on Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the stump of Jesse -- how Jesus would be a Royal, Righteous and Radical Tree of Peace.
Jesus; Tree of Peace
Isaiah 11.1-6 December 24, 2000
1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2And 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;3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
In typical fashion – at the height of the crush/rush season – I managed to get the flu last week. Thankfully it was a mild case! However, it did cause me to miss Wednesday night service. Early in the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Preacher were (as the poem has it) all snuggled in their bed for the night. We were not in hopes that St. Nick would soon be there…we were more hoping that Tylenol PM would kick-in and put us out for the night!
Just when the Sand Man began to do his thing with my heavy eyelids,
Out on the lawn there arose such a clatter –
Mrs. Preacher went to the door to see what was the
Robbers? Bandits? A tornado come a-twirling?
Nay, said Mrs. Preacher…It’s the Youth come a-caroling!
The Youth and Children had made our home one of the stops on their Christmas cheer parade. As dead as I felt, it was a wonderful blessing! From my bedroom in the front of the house I could hear Mrs. Preacher direct the children to go over closer to my window. My blinds were shut, but I could hear them come, laughing and excited in the near Arctic weather.
After singing several choruses of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, et al, I heard one energetic little voice say (in a stage whisper that could have been heard in Cleveland), Do you think he’s asleep? Another merry youth suggested, Pitch that rock up on the window to wake him up. Right there I decided to respond to the merry makers. I reached over to the little electric candle in the window, and began turning it on, and off, on, and off…. Finally, a small, excited voice cried out, He’s sending us a sign; He’s sending us a sign.
After a few more carols, and a few more on and off, on and off’s of the sign – the voices and laughter faded into the silent and holy night. And the SandMan came. The little electric candle sign had done its job. All was well!
When it is really dark it is hard to miss even the smallest light. We will have a candlelight service tonight. With all the lights off, one candle, lit from our Advent Wreath, will share with someone else’s candle, and then someone else’s, and another, and another…. The light will overtake the darkness.
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
We understand the picture of light chasing the darkness away. It is that way with peace. How odd peace looks in the middle of confusion and clatter. Christmas struggles are humorous because they touch at the very center of where we live. A little girl was pushing the limits of her mother’s very last nerve. Mom was nearing the end of a hectic season of cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping and church stuff. She was also nearing the breaking point with her little pre-schooler.
Finally the little girl was bathed and ready for bed. As she knelt to say her prayers, Mom listened as her sweet three year old theologian "customized" her evening prayer, ...And forgive us our Christmases, as we forgive those who Christmas against us!
Let’s look at three pictures of Jesus, the peace tree...
Jesus is the Royal Tree of Peace
There are many words in the Bible for "tree." The "rod" of verse 1 is a tender shoot, while the "stem" refers to the stump of a tree that has been cut down. There is nothing that looks so dead as the stump of a once great tree. A shoot may pop out of the stump, but it looks so hopeless, so incidental.