A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
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--
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
As I write this reflection our Prime Minister has her premiership hanging in the balance as a vote of no-confidence is taken in the house of commons. It seems that in all her efforts to carry the nation through the Brexit procedure she has lost the confidence of many in her party. From a position of power she could be in for a mighty fall.
The words Isaiah uses about Jesus describe a leader going in the opposite direction. A small and unimpressive shoot grows out of a stump- all that is left of a once mighty family tree. And yet this shoot will grow and bear fruit because the Spirit of the Lord is upon him. Unlike many of our politicians, Jesus, though very lowly and ordinary in appearance, had an unmistakable gravitas about his person, ‘a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might.’ He didn’t need to grasp power, it was in every word quietly spoken and every action he made.
Oh that we would have world leaders with these sorts of personality traits now! How different our lives would be if we were led by people who were more like the picture of Jesus Isaiah gives us. Imagine the truth and justice, the peace and joy that could break out if that were the case.
One day we will know what that is like. One day this humble but mighty shoot will come back in glory and then we will all delight in his wisdom and might. But in the meantime we can bring Emmanuel to our own small corner- what a difference he can make.