July 06, 2006

God Raises a Banner

Isaiah 11:1-10

The Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him ... Isaiah 11:10


If you've seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you may remember the moving scene in which the newly revived King Theoden rides into battle. The gilded banner of his people is raised, and with new courage his soldiers rally to him. In days before modern communications, military leaders often used banners and flags to encourage their troops and keep hopes of victory alive.

Isaiah 11 gives us a stirring picture of a victory already won, of a righteous ruler who makes just decisions for the poor, and of a restored creation in which "the wolf will live with the lamb." How can such a reality come from the conflicts in today's world, which merely reflect the conflicts in our own mixed-up relationships?

Isaiah's answer is that the "Root of Jesse will stand as a banner" and "the nations will rally to him." From the line of Jesse's son, David, came One who is not only a descendant but also the Root of that line: Jesus Christ. He was raised up on a cross-like banner, and since then people of all nations have been rallying to him. Believers from every language, people, and nation worship together under his banner.

Jesus said that when he was lifted up, he would draw all people to himself (John 12:32). And whenever we lift up Jesus, we help in bringing about the glorious place of rest in him that all nations long for.

Dear Lord and King, we have glimpsed your majesty in the cross, and we long for the day when all your people can rest in you. May we lift you up in all we do and say. Amen.

About the author — Tim Holwerda

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