• Dwight Dunn

Christmas Tree: Reminder Jesus is God's Promised Deliverer

This Advent blog post is one of a series of devotions from the Teaching through the Trimmings devotional. The devotions use the sights of Christmas to remind us of Jesus Christ. To download the complete devotional, please click here

Have you ever seen a new tree growing up from the stump of an old tree like in this picture? A new life shooting up from death and decay is surprising! This hopeful image points us to Jesus as the one to fulfill God’s promise to rescue us. A person who rescues people in trouble is called a deliverer or savior. A deliverer helps people out of trouble that they can’t fix. Jesus is God’s promised deliverer.

Isaiah, a man who lived 700 years before Jesus’ birth, told people that God would send someone to fulfill God’s promise to love and forgive us. Isaiah told people what family this deliverer would come from, what he would be like, and how only he would fulfill God’s promises. Isaiah said,

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1–2).

The Lord first promised Adam and Eve to love, forgive, and restore them. The Lord told His people in the following years more about His promise. Sometimes they listened to Him but other times they didn’t. They still tried to find a forever love, life, and happiness in other people or things rather than God. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.

The ‘stump of Jesse’ is a picture of how the kings who came from Jesse’s son David didn’t completely fulfill God’s promise. The people needed another king. The people thought the kings from David’s family were like a big strong tree. A big, healthy tree provides shelter, food, safety, and shade for birds and animals. If the kings from David’s family led the people to follow God, their country would be like a big tree. They would know God and He would bless them with food, shelter, safety, and much more. Most of the kings from David’s family and their countrymen however failed to follow God. Their country wasn’t like a big tree. In fact, the tree was gone and only a stump remained: Jesse’s stump. The people were sad, afraid, and gave up hope that their deliverer would come. It seemed as though God’s promise for a deliverer failed.

But God never fails! God is faithful; He always does what He promises at just the right time. God gives hope to the hopeless. The Lord tells the people that although they failed and became like a stump, God would cause a new shoot to grow from the stump into a mighty tree. God used the picture of a tree to refer to the deliverer-king who gives His people a forever love, life, happiness, and purpose.

God promised to give His Spirit to this King so that He would be humble, able to do what God wants, smart, strong, and love God perfectly. Isaiah says later that God’s Spirit will cause this King to preach God’s Good News of freedom, grace, and comfort to God’s hurting people. As people believe God’s promised-deliverer, they will receive God’s forever love, gladness, and peace. They themselves will become ‘oaks of righteousness.’ They will become like big strong trees who bless other people with God’s good news and love (Isaiah 61:1-3).

So who is this King? Jesus Christ said that Isaiah was speaking about Him (Luke 4:18-21)! Jesus is God’s promised deliverer. The Bible elsewhere calls Jesus ‘the root of David’ who delivers us from sin, gives us God’s love, and eternal life if we believe in Him (Revelation 5:5; 22:16). In our next devotion, we’ll read about another tree that shows us how much Jesus loves us.

Remember: When you look at your tree, remember that God gave us Jesus so that we

might love Him and bless other people.

Discuss: How does Christmas give you hope when it seems that God’s promises

have failed?

Pray: Dear Lord, make us like a strong tree so that we believe Jesus at all times and

can bless other people. Amen.

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