From Isaiah 11:1 comes this stirring promise:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
This is a well-known passage, but the description of the Messiah in 1a struck me freshly. Isaiah saw that the Messiah would not come out of a massive Davidic oak. He could have. No, in the purposes of the Lord, the Messiah would come as “a shoot” from Jesse’s “stump.” The Lord would lay His people low, humble them, allow them to be slaughtered, such that David’s line was nothing more than a tree stump (see Isaiah 6).
But out of that stump “a shoot” would come. Not another oak. Just a little shoot, the kind one finds by the thousands on a normal sized tree. Jesus would not come as an oak, though He was very God Himself. He came as a little shoot, but that tiny piece of wood would grow up to take another piece of wood, a cross, and graft in the Gentiles to His own tree (Romans 11). The wood images in the Scripture are rich, as one can see.
We do well to remember the humility of Jesus’ coming and the situation of Israel in that day and the ages before it. Jesus, Isaiah informs us, came as a twig.