Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
As we have mentioned several times, this prophecy is a major prophecy concerning Christ. We have looked at three parts of the prophecy.
1) The promised glorious rest as found in Christ:
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
2) The drawing of sinners to Christ:
John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
3) The root of Jesse, which is Christ, shall stand for an ensign.
The word ensign shows the reference is primarily to an army.
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
4) to it shall the Gentiles seek:
[Isa. 11] Ver. 12. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, &c.] For the gathering of them, for the calling of the Gentiles, that is, the Lord would do it; he who before is said to set his hand a second time to recover his people, whether among Jews or Gentiles; this he has done in the ministration of the Gospel, in which Christ is lifted up and held forth as the only Saviour of lost sinners, the sole author and glorious Captain of salvation, for them to flee to, and lay hold on; and this he still does, and will continue to do, until all his people are gathered in from the several parts of the world: (Gill, Online Bible)
The prophecy of Isaiah 11:10, said that the Gentiles, or pagans, would seek after Christ. The start of the fulfillment of Isaiah 11:11-12 is the context of the passage we used a couple weeks ago, John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, wil draw all men unto me:
The fulfillment is found in
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
13:1, the hour had come for Christ's death, so this chapter in Christ's life takes place just before Christ's death as the Passover lamb.
12:12-19, Christ had ridden into Jerusalem on the young ass. Riding in as he did, he presented himself as Israel's Messiah-King. When he rode into the city, his followers had cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. When they did that, the religious leaders were greatly outraged, and they plotted his death.
Later, Christ went to the temple where he preached his final message before his death. Vv. 24-50 probably take place a day or two after vv. 12-19.
Christ's final message was in response to the Greeks' request in v. 21, Sir, we would see Jesus.
The Greeks, evidently, were at Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. Seeing the commotion around Christ, they went to one of the twelve wanting to see Christ --- that is, they wanted to speak with him. They asked Philip to introduce them to Jesus.
The Old Testament Jews were forbidden to even speak with the Gentiles. (The woman at the well in John 4 was surprised that Christ spoke to her.) But certain Greeks desired to speak with Christ. Not knowing what to do with the request, Philip when to Andrew. Andrew did not know what to do either, so they both went to Christ. They told Christ that the pagan Greeks wanted to see him. Christ did not answer the request as we would consider an answer.
Christ's answer to the Greek's request is in vv. 23-26.
There are several points in Christ's answer, but I will only cover three at this time. And each one is a message in itself. (I will only refer to supporting passages, so write them down or get the tape.)
FIRST, v. 23, Isaiah's prophecy said,
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Christ regarded the Gentiles' request to speak with him as a sign that his hour had come. The time had come for the old division between Jews and Gentiles to be removed. The time had come for the doors to the Kingdom of God to be opened to the whole world. And that Kingdom would be ruled by King Jesus.
V. 23, Christ's glorification was not to be a physical ruler over a literal nation, Israel. Ephesians 1:20-22, tells us that Christ's glorification was his death, burial, resurrection and exaltation. God the Father raised Christ to sit at his own right hand. The Father's right hand of v. 20 is not a literal right hand, for God the Father is a spirit, so he does not have a right hand. Rather, "A position at the right hand was regarded as the chief place of honour and power #Ps 45:9 80:17 110:1 Mt 26:64." (Online Bible) (Also, Exo. 15:6.)
Ephesians 1:20 tells us that Christ was exalted by God the Father to the place of all power and authority. He remains there today despite the best efforts of men and devils to overthrown him. (Ps. 2.) Christ not only rules over God's people, as did David, but he rules over all things. He is working all things together for his own praise, honour and glory. Ephesians 1:8-12 (Also see Daniel 4:35, James 1:18, &c.)
SECOND, v. 24, Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be a root of Jesse. Christ tells us that before there can be a harvest of fruit, a corn of wheat, or a grain of wheat, must be placed in the ground. There in the ground it dies. That single grain of wheat then changes through death, and it becomes a root of a new, fruitful plant. Without that death, it will not bare fruit.
In response to the Gentiles' request to speak with him, Christ tells his disciples that he must die. Christ tells them that in his death, he will become a new root of a new nation. That nation out of the new root will give all people equal place in God's Kingdom, regardless of their physical relationship with Abraham. (All of Galatians, esp 3:29.)
Adam's spiritual death resulted in Adam being the root of the fallen nation of sinners. Every one of Adam's seed was born a part of that nation of sinners. Christ tells his disciples here that through his death, he will become the root of a new nation. This new nation will love God. This new nation will have both the desire and power to do what Adam failed to do --- obey and please the heavenly Father. (Php. 2:13.)
Whether or not one is a literal decedent of Abraham, (Old Testament Jew or a Gentile), one must be born into Christ's new nation just as sure as one was born into Adam's old nation that is in rebellion against God. Faith in Christ places one into the new nation, which has Christ as its root. (Col. 1:12-22, v. 13, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son...)
1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12, the new nation that is built on the root, which is Christ, lives among the Gentiles. Peter tells us that since Christ, generally Gentiles mean the unconverted, and the Jews mean the converted.
Example: According to Peter's words, this morning we are in an assembly of "Jews." All those elsewhere without Christ are the Gentiles of 1 Peter 2:12. Our command is to live godly among the unsaved who we are around continually.
Christ's response to the Greeks' request was that the Gentiles would be part of that new nation that would soon spring up from the root of Jessie. Christ tells Philip and Andrew that the old distinction between the physical seed of Abraham and those not of his seed was soon going to be destroyed by his death, burial, resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of the Father. Because of Christ descent into the ground, all of those who are born again are the new nation of God. John 12:24. (Paul explains all of this in Eph. chp 2.)
John 12:23, Christ told Philip and Andrew: THE TIME IS NOW HERE THAT THE OLD DISTINCTION BETWEEN JEWS AND GENTILES WILL BE DESTROYED. FROM NOW ON, ALL WHO COME TO ME WILL BE THE PEOPLE OF GOD, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE BORN A PHYSICAL SEED OF ABRAHAM OR NOT, v. 32.
This new nation has a command to abstain from fleshly lusts. This new nation has the power of God's grace to follow that command, a power that Adam did not have.
THIRD, and our last point for now, vv. 25, 26.
Here we see the removal of all distinction between the old Jewish nation and the old Gentile nation is now removed. Christ said, He that loveth his life... If any man... (This was Peter's vision in Acts 10, 11.)
As a grain of wheat, Christ had to die in order to establish a new root that would bear much fruit. That fruit would do away with all the old physical distinction between the Jews and Gentiles.
The root is Christ, and his people are the branches that are called to bear fruit. (Rom. 11, John 15:16.) Christ said that if his followers want to serve him, they must do the same. However, our call is not to a literal death as was Christ's.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Paul was not here calling for a literal death, but a spiritual death. Jesus tells us that following him requires the same sacrifice he made -- that is, death to personal prejudices, dreams, hopes and desires. It requires death to all hope of heaven outside of faith in Christ.
V. 20, Paul says that the new people of God are dead with Christ. They are dead to the power of sin over them, and they are no longer bound by it. They are dead to their own way and desires contrary to the will of God. They are alive to the command found in Peter:
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
The new nation built upon the root of Jessie has life, new desires and new power. The new desire is to please God and the new power is for doing his will. Since the planing of the new root, the only distinction among the world's peoples is Saved and Unsaved. According to Peter, Jews and Gentiles. And our command is to live godly among the ungodly. That can only be done if we are crucified with Christ, and his life is lived through us.