In Isaiah 11, the lifeless, forsaken stump of the Davidic line of kings, marked with corruption, neglect, and indifference to the people and to God's ways, seems like a done deal. Yet from this dead remnant comes new life, a remarkable shoot coming from the stump that promises to transform the experience of God's people.
This represents the coming Chosen One of God who will bring justice and peace to a people long deprived of both. The presumption that the stump had nothing left to offer, and symbolized God's failure among his people, gets upended by the spiritual transformation that the Chosen One promises to bring.
In Matthew 3, a different kind of prophet appears in the desert wilderness preaching repentance and spiritual transformation. John the Baptist showed himself to be a bit freaky in appearance and in lifestyle, but his message proved quite popular as many trekked through the desert to come and be baptized.
But this attention also caught the eye of the powers-that-be in Jerusalem; Pharisees and Sadducees. John recognizes these folks standing off from the crowd, watching the proceedings. John calls them out in a blistering diatribe. Their presumption of righteousness gets roundly denounced as John proceeds to announce the coming of One greater than himself, one who baptizes not with water, but with Spirit. They've got some new preparations to make.
Find out what all of this means in the sermon video below and the downloads below the video panel.