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.”