Summary: Isaiah 11:1-10 is the Old Testament for the Second Sunday in Advent, Year A in the Revised Common Lectionary. This was the occassion for the preaching of this message in December 2007, and the theme is that the Jesus, Our Messiah, is our personal peace in
Our Messiah, Our Peace!
Reading the newspaper, any piece of literature, or even the Bible between the lines can be a dangerous thing, because you face the possibility of misinterpreting the message. However, two Hebrew words, even though they actually do not appear in our text, stand out in my mind this morning. Those words are Messiah and Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace.
There is no question that our passage of Scripture from the first ten verses in Isaiah 11 is Messianic in nature. The passage points to Jesus Christ as the promised, long awaited Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world as we can see from the very opening words:
A shoot shall come out from
the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of
The Messiah would come from the lineage of King David, and David was the youngest son of Jesse. Sometimes, therefore, Scripture refers to Jesus as the Son of David but at other times as the Son of Jesse.
Messiah and Christ mean exactly the same thing. The former is Hebrew, the latter one is Greek. Both mean “The Anointed One.” I have long had a deep appreciation for the Jewish roots of our Christian faith and within the last few years have become friends with at least two brothers who are Messianic Jews. They have received Yeshua, that’s Hebrew for Jesus, as their Messiah.
From discussions or correspondences with them as well as personal study, I have discovered there are real benefits in referring to Yeshua or Jesus as the Messiah rather than the Christ, especially when it comes to sharing with our Jewish brothers and sisters about our own faith and trust in Him.
It’s second nature for us to prefer calling Jesus the Christ rather than the Messiah, for our culture is a European one, and Christ came over into our English language from the Greek. However, to Jewish people today the title Christ is full of negative connotations, for it often reminds them of the brutality they have received for centuries at the hands of people who claimed to be followers of The Christ including Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.
In America, Israel, and other nations of the world today young Jews are open to the Gospel of Yeshua, and many are receiving Him as their promised Messiah when He is presented to them using Jewish terminology. This is especially true when we realize that Messiah is a title that is full of hope in Jewish religion, tradition, and culture. The title also is more relevant in studying Biblical prophecy.
Whenever I close a letter, normally I like to share a witness by using words such as “Your Brother in Christ” rather than “Sincerely Yours.” Our Jewish brothers and sisters oftentimes will use the term “Shalom” as either their Salutation or Closing, and that is often the case with Messianic Jews as well. Shalom is one of the most significant words in Hebrew Scripture. It is the basic Hebrew term for peace.
Rather than saying “hello,” Jews, upon meeting one another, will usually great each other by saying, “Shalom aleikhem,” i. e. “Peace be upon you,” and oftentimes a simple “Shalom” will often suffice. Indeed the word has somewhat become like the Hawaiian term “Aloha” meaning both “hello” and “good-bye.”
Although the root meaning of Shalom is “peace,” the term is packed with much more imagery and meaning than conveyed by this single term in English. Shalom appears in the Hebrew Scriptures some 237 times. While meaning peace, it also coveys the idea of prosperity, well-being, health, wholeness, completeness, and safety. It speaks of wholeness of person describing a state in which one is healthy spiritually, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
Shalom describes a positive relationship between friends, parties, and even nations. Sixty times in Hebrew Scriptures ii describes a state in which friends and even nations live together, dwelling with each other without any strife, but it means much more, in these instances, than simply the “absence of war.” It pictures people living together in harmony. Such was the state of the land of Israel under the reign of King Solomon, as I Kings 4:25 testifies, “During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in SAFETY—or harmony, “shalom”—all of them under their own vines and fig trees.”
Kandela Groves has given us one of Contemporary Christian Music’s most beautiful Praise and Worship Choruses “He Is Our Peace.”
He is our peace who has broken down every wall,
He is our peace, He is our peace.
Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.
He is our peace, He is our peace.
Ms. Groves bases her chorus on the testimony of Paul in Ephesians 2:14-15, “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace. . .”