Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Infant Holy Infant Lowly"1 (Lyrics)
Zechariah 6:12 – Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord." (NIV)
Isaiah 11:1 – A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (NIV)
Jeremiah 23:5 – "The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land." (NIV)
A few years ago, I took a class on the subject of genealogy. Written in my notes was the suggestion that the holiday season provides a good opportunity to dive into family history. For example, round-the-dinner-table gatherings at Christmastime spur storytelling. Storytelling conveys exactly what we need to begin in genealogy: a firsthand recounting of names, places, and experiences.
Interestingly, the Israelites and other Semitic peoples used the term "The Branch" in a genealogical sense, meaning that a certain person belongs to or descends from a particular family line. In the Old Testament, it is a title referring to the Messiah. The word in Hebrew is "semah" which means "sprout, growth, or branch". In Jesus' case, He is described as coming from the stump of Jesse, who was the father of King David.
Revelation 22:16 confirms His ancestral record: "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (ESV)
This Advent season, as we remember the birth of our Saviour, let us contemplate the spiritual aspect of His family tree.
John 15:5 – [Jesus said,] "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (NIV 2011)
We believers are also called branches because we are rooted in Christ. In the genealogical sense of "branch", we have become sons and daughters of God by adoption. Further, it is our job to branch out and share the story of the gospel, leading others into the family of God. Nevertheless, we can function only if we are properly attached to the solid trunk of the vine, Christ, from Whom we receive our spiritual nourishment. Then, we will produce abundant fruit for the kingdom, until the day of His return.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we celebrate the birth of Your Son Jesus Christ may we, His church, cherish the stories that we read and hear from Your holy Word. May we gather around Your table and discuss the beautiful heritage that is ours through the precious blood of our Saviour, in Whose holy name we pray. Amen.