A Branch From David

How could a prophet know that the Messiah would be born in the town of David’s origin, yet grow up in Nazareth and be known as “The Nazarene?” Isaiah writes his prediction of the Messiah, nearly 700 years before Jesus is taken to Nazareth and fulfills this prophecy.

The Messiah shall come as a Branch out of David’s lineage, the Netzer, a Nazarene.

Isaiah 11:1b There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots…

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

The Nazarene

The prophecy of Isaiah 11:1 describes the Messiah as coming from a Branch in David’s line. The Hebrew word for Branch is Netzer, from where the world Nazarene could be inferred. This is known as a Hebrew play-on-words that seems to imply that the Messiah will come from the line of David, and that He will be referred to as The Nazarene. Seventeen times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as: Jesus of Nazareth. *[1]

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

The term: Branch, or Netzer is an important designation for the Messiah. It indicates that He will be from a place despised and be rejected by those whom He comes to save.

John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Nazareth was the home of a Roman army garrison from where soldiers constantly exercised harsh rule over the Jews. The fact that Nazareth was despised is seen in the statement made by Nathanael in speaking of Jesus: Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

It is fitting that Isaiah describes the Messiah as; despised and rejected. When we learn that the town that Jesus grew up in; Nazareth, fit this description—perfectly. Even before His ministry had gained any momentum, Jesus was already designated as one originating from a town in which nothing good could take place.

The Messiah is described as Despised and Rejected.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected by men…

We would imagine that should the Great God of the universe choose to come to earth, it would be with great pomp and circumstance. During the period of time in which the New Testament was written, every great king made their entrance into a city by regal splendor and great festive adulation.

Not so when Jesus arrived as the Messiah.

Isaiah predicts that He will come humbly, as a Branch out of David’s flawed and withered kingdom, to bring new life and great joy to the whole world. Although David is described as a man after God’s heart, we should remember that at the end of his life, David’s kingdom was fracture and broken into two pieces. He was despised by his own son, suffered betrayal, failure, and disappointment. It would be from this despised kingdom that a Branch would grow out of David’s roots who would also be despised and rejected by men.

When the Lord sent Samuel to Jesse to examine his sons for their prospective calling as the king of Israel, David was away tending the sheep.

As the oldest son of Jesse, Eliab, comes before Samuel; he must have looked like a king because Samuel proclaimed, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him! The Lord told Samuel that He does not look at the physical appearance of a man; He looks at the heart. This oldest son of Jesse was rejected by God, because He was looking for a man after His own heart.

David’s desire was to tend the sheep, high up on the mountain. Alone in the solitude of the outdoors, David was constantly reflecting on the goodness and grace of the Lord. David marveled at the thought that the Lord would even consider that he was worthy of God’s attention.

Psalms 8:3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?

David was, above all other things: humble before God. He was often impatient and vengeful towards other men, but when it came to the Living God, David stood in awe and deep respect.

The Lord loves humble men and women who tremble at His presence; who regard Him as Good and Holy and worthy of great honor. David understood that he could be nothing, have nothing, unless God should grant Him the blessings of life. It was the Lord’s guidance and strength that David looked to as the source of power for his life. It was David’s constant desire that the Lord should be worshipped and exalted by all creation.

As the Messiah comes as a Branch out of David’s line, He arrives on earth as a humble servant of God. Though the Bible aptly defines Jesus as the Creator of all things, we see that Jesus chose to set aside many of His rights as God so that He could fulfill the will of the Father to save all those who would believe. Jesus became a humble servant, laying down His life at the cross to pay for all of our sins.

Because of His deep humility and non forceful manner of ministry towards others, many people have incorrectly misunderstood who Jesus is.

His first appearance on earth was to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies of a humble, suffering-Servant, who would die for the sins of the world. His second appearance on earth will reveal Jesus as a mighty conquering King who will rule by force, if necessary.

Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah coming as the Netzer, a humble Branch out of David’s line, is a clear and identifiable attribute that we see in the life of Jesus. He is known as the Nazarene by His dedication to God for His service. In the Old Testament, the vow of the Nazirite was a vow of separation to God for His purposes.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy.’ ” Numbers 6:1-5

Two days before Jesus would offer His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, Mary came and anointed Jesus’ feet with precious oil. Judas went to the chief priests to ask how much they would give him to betray Jesus. On the final night before He was arrested and unjustly condemned to die, Jesus gathered all of His disciples to eat the Passover meal. He took the cup of wine and drank from it, broke the bread and passed it to His disciples. He told these men that the wine was a symbol of His blood which would be shed for the sins of the world—the bread, a symbol of His body which would be broken for us. Then Jesus said something that gives us a hint at His true calling as The Branch Isaiah describes in this 180th prophecy:

Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

Jesus was taking the vow of a Nazarite at that moment, to separate Himself from the effects of alcohol produced by the fermenting grapes of wine. He was about to offer His life as full payment for our sins. He would allow nothing to numb Him from the pain and suffering that He would experience. He was taking our place at the judgment of God for all sins, and He would not diminish any of the suffering that was required.

While on the cross, suffering unimaginable pain, Jesus refused the sour wine offered to Him by the soldiers—which would diminish His suffering.

Matthew 27:34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.

As the Netzer, the Branch after David’s humble heart, Jesus fulfilled the words of Isaiah in this prophecy from chapter 11:1-2. He became the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins and made forgiveness possible for all who would receive Him.


NOTES:
[1] A type of joke using a word or phrase that has two meanings It’s a play on words – Example: I suppose by calling a hairdresser’s ‘A Cut Above’ they were hoping to give themselves a more sophisticated image. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/a+play+on+words.