Isaiah 11:1-10 (NRSV)
Chapter 11A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. Verse 2The spirit of the Lord shall 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. Verse 3His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; Verse 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Verse 5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. Verse 6The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. Verse 7The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Verse 8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den. Verse 9They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Verse 10On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
A few years ago, my family and I witnessed some wolves in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park chasing down some young bison. I thought we were on a nature channel! Having watched those wolves, it's hard to imagine a lamb dwelling with a wolf as today's reading describes — or a calf hanging out with a lion for that matter. But Isaiah's words foreshadow a kind of unimaginable peace that will result from the reign of the Branch that will sprout from the root of Jesse, Jesus Christ.
Jesus, the great-great-great-great … grandson of Jesse, brings this peace by the power of God's Spirit. This Spirit working in Jesus brings wisdom, understanding, might, counsel, knowledge, and respect for God. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be our righteous judge who stands with the meek. In Jesus' kingdom, the little children will lead us. Jesus is God's gift of peace to us all.
God of peace, we need your peace more than ever. We pray for the kind of peace described in this passage to come into our world. Thank you for the gift of peace in Jesus. Amen.