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Isaiah 11:1-9 1
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

clip_image018Background 2

At a time when the kings of Israel were disappointing the expectations placed in them, the prophet Isaiah found hope for a new beginning in his faith in God. He saw that God would place on the throne a son of David who would reign according to the desires of God’s heart. This king would not find in himself the wisdom and strength necessary to rule; he would receive them directly from God. His action would be based on “fear of the Lord,” which means here the recognition that God is the source of his activity, that everything is a gift.

Animated by the breath of the Lord, the new king would be able to “judge,” in other words to bring justice to society, above all by taking care of the least fortunate. He would accomplish this task by the power of his word alone: in v. 4b, images of violence are applied to the act of speaking, of pronouncing judgments. As a result, the whole of creation will be pacified, reconciled; even snakes will lose their power to harm. The passage thus concludes on an “ecological” note, a vision of the created universe brought back to the peace of paradise, just as when it left the hands of God.

Since in the Bible the king is a figure of the human being par excellence, here the ideal king seems to restore and bring to fulfillment the vocation of Adam (Gen 2-3). Instead of stealing the fruit of knowledge, he receives it as a gift. And so this knowledge spreads out and becomes a source of reconciliation, enabling the whole of creation to recover its original harmony, desired by God from all eternity.

Biblical Truths 3

The Messiah is called a Rod, and a Branch. The words signify a small, tender product; a shoot, such as is easily broken off. He comes forth out of the stem of Jesse; when the royal family was cut down and almost leveled with the ground, it would sprout again. The house of David was brought very low at the time of Christ’s birth. The Messiah thus gave early notice that his kingdom was not of this world. But the Holy Spirit, in all his gifts and graces, shall rest and abide upon him; he shall have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in him, Colossians 1:19; 2:9. Many consider that seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are here mentioned. And the doctrine of the influences of the Holy Spirit is here clearly taught. The Messiah would be just and righteous in all his government. His threatening shall be executed by the working of his Spirit according to his word. There shall be great peace and quiet under his government. The gospel changes the nature, and makes those who trampled on the meek of the earth, meek like them, and kind to them. But it shall be more fully shown in the latter days. Also Christ, the great Shepherd, shall take care of his flock, that the nature of troubles, and of death itself, shall be so changed, that they shall not do any real hurt. God’s people shall be delivered, not only from evil, but from the fear of it. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The better we know the God of love, the more shall we be changed into the same likeness and the better disposed to all who have any likeness to him. This knowledge shall extend as the sea, so far shall it spread. And this blessed power there have been witnesses in every age of Christianity, though it’s most glorious time, here foretold, is not yet arrived. Meanwhile let us aim that our example and endeavors may help to promote the honor of Christ and his kingdom of peace.

Items for Discussion

  • What type of kingdom is being described here—physical or spiritual?
  • Who are the “needy” and the “poor” in your situation (v. 4)?
  • What can each of us do to support them?
  • What enables us to become a source of peace for those around us?
  • What are the signs of the presence of God’s Spirit in our life?
  • Can you find the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in these verses?

 

Luke 24:1-12
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Background 4

We are now entering into the labors of another evangelist; his name Luke, which some take to be a contraction of Lucilius; born at Antioch, so St. Jerome. Some think that he was the only one of all the penmen of the scripture that was not of the seed of Israel. He was a Jewish proselyte, and, as some conjecture, converted to Christianity by the ministry of St. Paul at Antioch; and after his coming into Macedonia (Acts xvi. 10) he was his constant companion. He had employed himself in the study and practice of physic; hence, Paul calls him Luke the beloved Physician, Col. iv. 14.

The manner of the re-uniting of Christ’s soul and body in his resurrection is a mystery, one of the secret things that belong not to us; but the infallible proofs of his resurrection, that he did indeed rise from the dead, and was thereby proved to be the Son of God, are things revealed, which belong to us and to our children. Some of them we have here in these verses, which relate the same story for substance that we had in Matthew and Mark.

Biblical Truths

Our Lord Jesus went gloriously down to death, in spite of the malice of his enemies, who did all they could to make his death ignominious; but he rose again more gloriously, of which we have an account in this chapter; and the proofs and evidences of Christ’s resurrection are more fully related by this evangelist than they were by Matthew and Mark. Here is, I. Assurance given by two angels, to the woman who visited the sepulcher, that the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead, according to his own word, to which the angels refer them (ver. 1-7), and the report of this to the apostles, ver. 8-11. II. The visit which Peter made to the sepulcher, and his discoveries there, ver. 12.

Items for Discussion

  • As you look at history’s evolution of our judicial process, what steps do you see in these verses that parallel our system of justice and proof we require today?
  • Why do you think women were chosen to be the first witnesses of Christ’s resurrection?
  • Why was it important for Christ to die and be buried before his resurrection? Why didn’t he just rise from the cross? (plenty of witnesses and drama up on that hill!)
  • What elements of our beliefs are restated in this story?

Discussion Challenge

  • What will you do today to celebrate Christ’s victory over death?
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