Is 11:1-10; Ps 72:1,2,7,8,12,13,17; Lk 10:21-24
People, of every nation, long for justice to cover the earth and for peace to invade our world. This longing is a gift from our Creator. Indeed, from the depths of every human heart this universal desire is born. In King David, the LORD found a man after his own heart, and he promised this king that his son would govern the people with justice and judgment. Indeed, in this promise the afflicted find hope in every generation. The reign of the Son of David brings justice to flower and profound peace to birth. He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. All who cry out will be rescued and the afflicted will receive swift help. This Just One will have pity on the lowly and the poor. Their lives he will save. All the tribes of the earth will find blessing in him, and they will bless his name forever. The Prophet Isaiah uses impossible images from nature to draw a word icon of the wonderful new creation that is coming in the Advent of Our God, Christ the Lord. The Lord Jesus proclaims that only to the childlike will the Holy Spirit give the faith to see the true image of God in Christ Jesus, the one whom age upon age of prophets and kings longed to see. Perhaps all it takes is this Advent 2009 to open the childlike eyes of our faith in awe and wonder before the mystery of God’s Coming.
This shoot that buds from the stump of Jesse has the very Spirit of the LORD! A shoot that is wise, understanding, strong, learned, fearing the LORD, and delighting in that fear. This shoot strikes with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he slays the wicked. When was the last time you heard a shoot striking or slaying much less speaking? Isn’t a shoot from any stump a silent and speechless speck of new growth? To the eye of a careful beholder it may be a tiny sign of new life, but that’s all. It takes the dreamy vision of our Advent Prophet to see what no one else can see. Then the vision continues with ever more impossible icons of the new creation. Wolf and lamb share a mutual hospitality, and a leopard and kid relax with each other. Calf and lion walk together because some non-threatening and powerless child brings them together. Cow and bear delight in neighborliness, and their young take a nap together. Lions feast on hay with the oxen rather than on ox-flesh. Babies too play near cobra’s dens and touch snakes without fear. These impossible dreams filled the heart and mind of Isaiah and they proclaim what life on the holy mountain will be like when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the LORD, as water fills the waters of the world. Such is the new world brought into being through the death and resurrection of this Son of Jesse, this Son of David, this Son of God. Even the nations, the pagan nations, will seek it because its glory will be irresistible. Indeed, we were made for the praise of his glory and we are not satisfied until we live and move and have our being in such a new creation.
Isaiah saw strange and wonderful visions, but he only longed to see and hear the Incarnate One, Jesus the Christ. This Lord Jesus is the most childlike of all, and He freely gives himself over to the Holy Spirit for an unexpected and delightful moment of prayer lifting up his voice to the Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Spontaneous prayer cannot be taught, but the Lord Jesus teaches us that having such moments of praise is part of an intimate relationship with God. Indeed, we are the ones to whom the Son has revealed Abba, Loving Father. Because Jesus is the Eternal Son of God who delights to gaze forever upon the unspeakable beauty of the Father’s face, because of just such eternal intimacy the Lord Jesus knows of whom he speaks and in the Holy Spirit he shares with us the adopted children of God. Indeed, our eyes have seen and our ears have heard the Lord Jesus who is the perfect image of the Father, full of glory and power.