As I read Isaiah 11:1-10, I get a beautiful sense of peace and hope. The poem promises justice and peace to a world filled with injustice and discord. I love the way Eugene Peterson translates the verses in The Message.
“A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.
The wolf will romp with the lamb,
the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
their calves and cubs grow up together,
and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.
On that day, Jesse’s Root will be raised high, posted as a rallying banner for the peoples. The nations will all come to him. His headquarters will be glorious.”
I hear a beautiful correlation between justice and peace. When true justice reigns, there is peace such as the image of animals living in harmony and children not knowing fear. It is a reminder of what life was like in the garden before sin entered the scene and brought a terrible discord to God’s world.
Christ’s righteousness and faithfulness changes everything. He is the green Shoot that promises a new world as His justice becomes the instrument through which peace returns. I never thought about Jesus being the Justice of the Peace before reading Isaiah this morning, but it is a fitting title for a king Who is unlike any this world has every known.
Advent is a time of hope that brings with it a promise of peace. When Christ returns, He will bring justice that reveals the living knowledge of God that is deeper and wider than all I can imagine. Until then, I pray we will seek justice for the poor and the needy and love others in a way that brings all of us a little closer to one another and His Son’s precious love.