The Shoot of Jesse (11:1-9)

Bible Passage: Isaiah 11:1-9

This passage is one of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah who the Lord would send, and it has a lot of similarity to the servant songs found later in the book. Here he is introduced as a shoot coming out from the stump of Jesse. This is a significant statement because Jesse was the Father of David, so we are being taught that this anointed one would be in David’s family tree, and so the promise of 2 Samuel 7:16 would apply to him. Isaiah goes on to tell us about what this coming one would be like and what he would do.

One Filled With the Spirit: In verse 2 we are told that the spirit of the Lord would rest on the one who God sent, and this was very visually fulfilled in Jesus as the Spirit came in the form of a dove to rest upon him. Everything Jesus did was done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah elaborates by unpacking some of the effects of the Spirit upon Jesus: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of God. These benefits come to all who are filled with the Spirit, and we can share in them with Jesus because he has ascended to heaven and poured out the Spirit upon us. These attributes accurately describe the way Jesus conducted his life, and as verse 3 says, his delight was in the fear of the Lord.

One Who Judges Righteously: Verses 3-5 speak about the role of Jesus as judge. He will have authority for judgement, but unlike earthly judges, he will be able to get beyond the surface to the heart of a situation. He knows the heart and so can judge rightly, and particularly can bring justice to the poor and meek who have been mistreated. Jesus is on the side of the poor and oppressed, and his judgement will put right the wrongs that have been done to them. The judgement of Jesus is good news for those who have been wronged, but it is not good news for the wicked and the oppressors as they will not be able to escape his righteous justice.

One Who Brings Peace: In verses 6-9 we see a poetic expression of the peace Jesus brings. Those animals that are naturally adversaries (wolf and lamb, leopard and kid, calf and lion) are brought together. Predators and their prey live in peace. This points to what Jesus has done through the gospel as he has brought together people groups who were formerly at war and united them in himself. When Jesus returns and the new creation is inaugurated, the whole earth truly will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and this peace and harmony will extend to the whole created order.

Potential Applications:

  • This would be a good opportunity to pray for people to be filled with the Spirit. Jesus shows us the Spirit-filled life and has now poured out his Spirit on his church.
  • You could apply this message to those who are currently in relational conflict. The picture of the peace that Jesus brings is something that ought to stir us to put right the relational issues in our own lives.
  • This whole passage is lifting up Jesus as the glorious promised one. Turn people’s eyes to him and lead into a time of lifting him up in praise.