“Christ, The Only Rest
‘And His rest shall be glorious.’ Isaiah 11:10
In the New Testament we hear from the mouth of Bartimeus and others, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Now when Isaiah mentions the root of Jesse (v 10), it is clear enough that he means the Son of God.
We also read in the Bible of that precious confession of Peter, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ That confession was based on such a true and firm ground in order that the Church knows Who the Christ is. The Lord has caused the prophets to describe Him, in former days, by the spoken and written Word of God. The Old Testament writers give us a complete picture of this Person.
If we, with this picture in mind, carefully study Isaiah’s description of the root of Jesse, in Whom rest is to be found, we notice that Isaiah conforms to the picture which the Bible gives us of Christ. Then we must come to the confession that He is the Son of God.
Beloved, thus Christ is the only Savior and Mediator, and the root of Jesse is the Son of God, and therefore He, Who was born in Bethlehem’s manger, Who walked as man in the midst of Israel, Who died upon Golgotha, was greater than all men. He was not only man, but also God, the eternal and only Son of the Father, coessential with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
He did not become the Son of God when He assumed the human nature from the Virgin Mary. No, that is the false doctrine of Socinus. They speak of Jesus as a good man, worthy to be followed. Christ is the root of Jesse. He is therefore the uncreated God from eternity to eternity. He existed before He came upon earth in the flesh. The Bible gives many proofs that He was from eternity. We read in Gal. 4, ‘When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.’ In order to be sent forth, He had to exist. Christ was the true God from all eternity. That is what the prophets and the apostles have declared. They have declared that Christ is the only Savior and in His communion, a sinner may rest only by saving faith.
The Lord has counted Isaiah worthy to sketch an image of the Lord Jesus. Isaiah is sometimes called the evangelist of the Old Testament. With clear words he draws a picture of the Person of Christ. He speaks of the life, experiences, and death of Christ. For example, in his words, he points to the birth of Christ out of the Virgin Mary. He tells of Christ’s life of disdain and contempt. Then Isaiah sketches the glory of His majesty. He lets us see Him in His humiliation and then in His exaltation. He shows us Christ in His offices as Prophet, High Priest, and King.
It is no wonder, beloved, that the book of Isaiah and the Psalms of David are the most precious part of the Bible. Ask only the people of God. Here in verse 10, the prophet is speaking of the Lord Jesus as the root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people. You know that the word ensign or banner, in the original means something that is raised up on high, something very, very visible. These ensigns were formerly used in wars, they had a certain purpose. They raised these banners above the people, and each company, each troop had a banner of their own. We also have an example of it with the serpent that Moses raised up in the wilderness among the people of Israel. It is also translated in Numbers 26 to be something which could be seen afar off.
We could say more about it, but so in like manner the Lord Jesus is the banner whereby God’s people are guided in all their struggles. He is their banner to Whom they must look by faith when they are confused. The duty of that people is to remain close to this banner if they want to prosper in the strife. They have to look to Christ as their leader, to receive strength, wisdom, comfort and life from Him. They have to follow Him by faith and obedience, wherever He leads them, even if they have to die for or with Him. Thus you can understand, beloved, where Jesus goes, they have to go also. That is the way. Jesus says, whosoever will be My disciple, let him take up his cross and follow Me. The experience of that people is, where Jesus is it is always safe.”
-From Christ, The Only Rest, a sermon by Matthijs Heerschap (1911-1993) based on Isaiah 11:10