Advent Day 19: Rabbi

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—

yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

He will delight in obeying the Lord.

He will not judge by appearance

    nor make a decision based on hearsay. (Isaiah 11:1–3 NLT)

Jesus, this new branch growing out of the stump of David’s family, holds a distinct advantage as a rabbi over any other religious instructor of His era or any other. Where they are only able to share about what they have gleaned about God from a lifetime of lectures, readings, and discussions, Jesus can simply share about Himself. The Swiss theologian Karl Barth once said, “Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is Himself the way.”

Jesus is the chief among rabbis because His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge flow directly out of His Spirit. It was not simply to be part of our lives and allow us to get to know Him more personally that God chose to live among us; He also chose the incarnation in order to teach us, to instruct us concerning who He is, what causes His heart to bleed, and how we can best love, follow, and serve Him.

Read Psalm 25, taking note of the ways David writes of how God teaches us, counsels us, and leads us in wisdom.