A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2)
It is not difficult for us to see that this is a clear prediction of the Lord Jesus. Here in these opening verses is a hint that the Messiah will appear in history in a very obscure way. That is suggested by this word,
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse. Like a great tree that has been cut down, the ancestry of Jesus represented in David and his father Jesse has been reduced to obscurity and insignificance. …
But out of that lowly stump will arise a shoot, a single sprout, a man who will, as the prophet goes on to say, be filled with the Spirit of God and who will do a great work in the land. When our Lord is referred to as
the son of David in the gospels, it is always in terms of royal glory, but when he is called the
stump of Jesse, it is a reference to his humble beginnings.
The prophet not only sees the ancestry of Jesus, but he sees him in his Spirit-filled ministry.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, he says. That Spirit consists of three pairs of characteristics. As you observe these pairs more closely, you can see that they describe Jesus of Nazareth. The first pair,
the spirit of wisdom and of knowledge, speak of his amazing insight into human affairs. Wisdom is the knowledge of the nature of things, while understanding is the awareness of the differences between them. How clearly Jesus reflected these in his ministry! One of the symbols of our age is the therapist’s couch. Therapists have their patients lie on a couch and ask them questions in an effort to understand their problems. But our Lord never used a couch for he never had to ask questions. John’s gospel tells us that Jesus didn’t need for any man to tell him what was in man because he knew man.
The second pair,
the spirit of counsel and of might, speak of authority. Counsel is the ability to give good and right advice, while might is the ability to help carry it out. This is described even more fully in the words in verse three,
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear… What a wonderful description of Jesus as he met with people. He spoke of truth that you can never find out by human powers. He described how the angels live, what happens after death, how prayer works, how the devil works. These he described with full authority. He did not have to study reference books, but rather spoke so that men hearing him said,
No man ever spake like this man. (John 7:46)
The third pair,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord,speak of our Lord’s intimate relationship to the Father. Out of that flows the marvelous serenity of his life. He is never taken by surprise. He always seems to be master of the occasion. This grows out of his full awareness of the mind of God. He said on one occasion,
You do not know Him, but I know Him, (John 8:55). He came to reveal to us the mind of the Father, the graciousness, compassion, truthfulness and faithfulness of God. All grew out of his
knowledge of the Lord and his fear of the Lord.
Gracious Father, I thank you for these amazing words from this ancient book. How accurately they picture One who has come to mean more than all else to me. I thank you for the confirmation of the Spirit to my own heart that these words can be fulfilled in me as well.