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December 24, 2021 – Isaiah 11:10 & John 12:18-21

So many prophecies of Messiah in the book of Isaiah! God’s plan of redemption never included only the biological descendants of Abraham; always, he intended to save for himself an innumerable number from all the peoples of the world. One of the names given to Messiah in the OT is “the Root of Jesse.” And, so: "In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples-- of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:10). Similar to another name given to Messiah – “Branch” – the Hebrew word for “root” is translated by Keil & Delitzsch as “the root-sprout of Jesse,” that is, a root that remains alive and from which grows a branch or shoot, who is Messiah, and who will draw many peoples to himself.


John reports: “Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’ Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus’” (John 12:18-21). And who cannot but think of the scene at Pentecost reported in Acts 2!


I know it is a long quote, but I just can’t help myself.


Behold, a branch is growing

of loveliest form and grace!

As prophets sang, foreknowing,

it springs from Jesse’s race

and now begins to flow’r

in midst of coldest winter,

at deepest midnight hour.


Isaiah had foretold it

in words of promise sure,

and Mary’s arms enfold it,

a virgin meek and pure.

Through God’s eternal will

this child to her is given

at midnight calm and still.


This flow’r, whose fragrance tender

with sweetness fills the air,

dispels with glorious splendor

the darkness ev’rywhere.

True man, and yet true God,

from sin and death he saves us

and lightens ev’ry load.


0 Savior, child of Mary,

who felt our human woes,

O Savior, King of glory,

who conquered all our foes,

bring us at last, we pray,

to the bright courts of heaven

and to the endless day. –Old German hymn (c. 1500)


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