December 27, 2007

The Christmas Planting

Matthew 2:13-23; Ezekiel 17:22-24

"He will be called a Nazarene."
Matthew 2:23


According to statistics, 8.4 million people in the world today have fled their own countries because of persecution. Jesus would relate to these millions, for he was once a refuge too. Under cover of darkness, Jesus' parents fled with him from Bethlehem to avoid the murderous inclinations of a paranoid king. And although Joseph intended to return to Judea, a dream directed him to Galilee. So Jesus grew up in a small town called Nazareth in that region.

Does Jesus' identity as a "Nazarene" discount his identity as the Son of David? Hardly. Nazareth brings to mind the Hebrew word nezer, which means "branch." Jesus' new hometown testifies to Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

I have a vine that I planted 20 years ago. Even though I moved it to three different locations, it never flowered. So several years ago, I cut that vine down. But while I gave up on the vine, that vine didn't give up. It still sprouts every year-more vigorous than before.

David's family tree had likewise been cut down. It seemed dead, unable to fulfill its true purpose. But then a shoot came forth from the stump. And from that shoot would grow a tree so great that birds of the air would come and build nests in its branches!

Lord Jesus, we are as much in need of a home as you were. Help us find our shelter and security in you. In the shade of the branches of your kingdom, may we find rest. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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