Jesus, the Hope of the World

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Monday, December 9, 2013 by Jenny Thompson


As we focus on the Messiah, we must understand that we need both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We cannot have one without the other!

The Prophet Isaiah could see something of the origin of the Messiah as well as giving us a window into what the character of the Messiah would be like! How amazing is this!

The Apostle Paul used the Old Testament scriptures in his letter to the church at Rome in order to endorse the origin of the Messiah and to also to encourage the believers that through endurance, they might have hope!

This is so relevant to us today, as indeed we are the recipients of all the wonderful prophetic utterances relating to the coming of Jesus. And of course, we learn both practical and spiritual teaching from the teaching of Paul.

Isaiah 11:1-10

This would be the fourth major section focusing on the Messiah. There are at least twenty five references to the Messiah in this chapter alone.

Looking at this passage, the major emphasis here is firstly his origin from the tribe of Jesse – emphasising His humanity and secondly, His nature having,

“the Spirit of the Lord rest on him.”

…emphasising His divinity.

Although not much is said here regarding the importance or implications of His coming from the line of Jesse, the line of David, it is full of meaning in the Old Testament, and should be to us as well.

This is God’s fulfilment of His promise, His covenant. This is God’s plan of salvation.

This wasn’t overlooked by the New Testament writers as they relied on this. We see this in Acts 13:22-23,

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” ‘From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as he promised.”

This Spirit has certain characteristics: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might or power, knowledge and fear of the Lord.

I know of no fuller description of the Holy Spirit’s character in all of the Old Testament than here!

These characteristics aren’t intended to draw undue attention to the Spirit but are meant to help us see more clearly who the Messiah would be, and what He would be like.

Isaiah 11:2

“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.”

Perhaps Isaiah foresaw the way the Holy Spirit would come down on Jesus when John the Baptist baptised him at the beginning of His ministry?

  • Wisdom’ describes intelligence that can properly evaluate situations. He grew is wisdom!
  • Understanding’ is perception or insight that can see into the true nature of something
  • Counsel’ describes wisdom that is put to work to make a good decision. He is of course the ‘mighty counsellor’. ‘Might or power’ is taking counsel and actually putting it to work.
  • A thorough ‘knowledge’ about God is something that only the Son of God could reveal to us
  • Fear’ is the respect and reverence for God that knowledge about Him produces

So taken together, we have a picture of the heavenly wisdom that the Saviour would possess.

Isaiah 11:5

“Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist”

Apparently, in ancient times, a belt might be worn around the waist when a person engaged in a wrestling match.

The object of the competition was to wrestle the opponent’s belt away from him. Isaiah used that ancient picture to describe the Saviour’s readiness and ability to go into battle on our behalf.

The belt that made Christ ready for battle was righteousness and faithfulness. So He had these heavenly qualities that were absolutely necessary for winning our salvation!

Isaiah 11:10

“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting-place will be glorious.”

I love the description here! The Messiah would be ‘a banner for the people’.

Their covering, their protector. His banner over us is love! The nations will rally to Him. This has yet to happen in all its fullness, but we see the spread of Christianity to thousands of people around the world, and of course, the Kingdom of God is continuing to advance all the time.

I’m intrigued by the last phrase,

“…and His resting-place will be glorious.”

When I think of rest, I think of somewhere peaceful, quiet and serene. I don’t often think of ‘glorious’.

But of course, Jesus’ place of rest would have to be glorious because He is glorious. A quiet walk by the sea or maybe a quiet moment at home is my idea of rest.

I’m sure then that heaven will be glorious, because of God’s wonderful presence being there. So when we receive our new resurrected bodies, we will actually be there with Him sharing in His Glory! How amazing is that?!

Romans 15:4-13

Because Paul has used words from the Old Testament, he then speaks about the purpose of the scriptures.

The study of the scriptures will show how God has acted in the past to rescue his people. So the scriptures will encourage Christians.

The Old Testament speaks about God’s faithful love and it promises to Christians,

“…a hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

The hope that God gives will never disappoint us. Paul prays that, with the help of God, Christians may live in agreement with each other. So Paul was saying that if the Christians do not argue, their church will be strong. Together, they will be able to declare the gospel in a powerful manner.

And they will bring glory to God.

Christ became a servant for two reasons: His life showed that we can trust God and the Gentiles would receive God’s mercy.

So the hope that God gives will not disappoint us.

As Christians, we eagerly expect the time when Jesus will return. He will then complete our salvation when He will give to us a resurrection body and a new life in heaven.

Titus 2:13

“While we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Notice the emphasisis on hope here. Paul begins and ends this passage with this theme!

Romans 15:4

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

Romans 15:12-13

And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So the whole emphasis here is one of true hope that the Lord Jesus brings to us!

Are we continuing to live in this hope? Some of us feel hopeless because of what we have been through, but I believe the Lord wants to encourage us today by filling our hearts with fresh hope in Him.

Paul roots the amazing story of God’s grace from the Old Testament.

Right from the beginning of Romans, he has rooted the story of God’s salvation in Jesus in the Old Covenant

Romans 1:1-6

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

And now, he ends the letter in just the same way!

Romans 16:25-27

“Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – 27 to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

We truly see the sovereignty of God in history here. Paul says to new covenant Christians after the resurrection of Christ Jesus that,

“…whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

He ends his letter showing the sovereign purposes of God in electing both those in Israel as well as the Gentiles, and teaches us to rejoice together as a people in what God has done so graciously for us in Christ!

This purpose and vision of Romans 15 was always God’s intention from the beginning of creation, even before the foundation of the earth – wow!

How many of us struggle with thinking that perhaps we will not make it successfully to heaven, that we will not be holy enough, or spiritual enough? That somehow what Paul has told us all to do previously in chapters 12-14 might not be fulfilled in us?!

Well, we do not need to worry! We received His grace when we first believed in Him and His grace is continuing to work in us!

As God’s children, we can rest in his sovereignty and rule and love over and in our lives!

Paul says in Romans 15:13,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

And in Philippians 1:6,

“Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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