There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. (Isaiah 11:1)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Merry Christmas! The stem of Jesse. Jesse was King David’s dad. Isaiah prophesied that the Savior was going to come from a particular family tree: David’s. Jesus didn’t just show up out of nowhere. When He became man, He took on His flesh in the womb of Mary, a descendant of Jesse’s line. It’s a reminder that goes all the way back to Eden when the Lord told Eve that “her seed” would crush the serpent’s head.
Here’s the thing. God doesn’t shy away from mixing it up with us sinners. He takes on our flesh. Lives among us. Puts up with us. Carries our transgressions all the way to Calvary. And dies there for our sins before rising the third day. He does that by coming at a particular time, in a particular place, from a particular family.
With Jesus, there’s nothing hypothetical or generic. He is a real human being from a real family who carries our real sins to a real cross and dies a real death. What sets the Christian faith apart from other religions is that God Himself has come into this world in our flesh and done things to save us.
And He continues to do that as He uses water, words, bread and wine to deliver His gifts. Jesse’s son, David, became the King of Israel. Down the line from David, Jesus was born and is King of Kings. Your salvation is a real thing because your God is a real God—not just because “God exists” but because that God became man, born of a woman, born for you to save you.
Jesus’ being born in the line of Jesse and David reminds us that the Lord was always working out the fulfillment of His promises through real people in a real family. It’s just as He does now, though not in a geographical Israel but through the family of His Church. He has made you a part of that family by your new birth from above in Baptism. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s tree, Free them from Satan’s tyranny That trust Thy mighty pow’r to save, And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel! (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, LSB 357:4)