“And again Isaiah says, ‘There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles hope.’ ” Romans 15:12
The inspired apostle Paul quotes from the book of Isaiah, the eleventh chapter, verse ten, relating the mercy of God being extended to the Gentiles through the root of Jesse, the one known as Jesus Christ.
Let’s take a look at the entire verse and the inspired utterance given Isaiah. “Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.” The apostle has been working on God’s plan from the beginning for all nations and peoples to be a part of the kingdom (which Paul made reference to earlier in Romans 14:17) of His beloved Son. Christ was a servant, the apostle states, “on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers”, and for the nations “to glorify God for His mercy.” (Rom. 15:8b, 9a) In Isaiah’s prophecy and Paul’s reciting of Isaiah’s prophecy, the timing of this opportunity for the nations to hope in Christ is identified. It’s when He “arises to rule over the Gentiles” as Paul states, it’s where, as Isaiah proclaims, “His resting place will be glorious.” These are compatible parallel statements, references to Jesus’ ascension to the throne in heaven. Jesus didn’t arise to rule over the Gentiles while he walked the earth. Did the peoples of the earth get the opportunity to see Jesus stand before them in the flesh, as some sort of a signal that He was a great king on earth, with a huge ornate “glorious” house? Nope. He said “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20) Now, there are those misguided ones who think because it didn’t happen the first time He appeared on earth, that somehow, Jesus needs to return to earth to set up an earthly kingdom (with a glorious house) in order that the Gentiles will finally get the signal from God, so to speak, and resort (or turn) to Him as ruler. Uh, a little problem. The New Testament says of Jesus, “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” (1 Cor. 15:25). He’s been reigning for about 2000 years now according to the Scripture. And His kingdom, as He told Pontius Pilate, “is not of this realm.” (John 18:36) It’s not a physical kingdom, it’s a spiritual kingdom. The New Testament also advises us that where Jesus sat down (His resting place), was “at the right hand of the majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). That, brethren, is in heaven. Real hope for the Gentiles in this merciful Ruler, and real hope for peace on earth among mankind only became possible once Jesus ascended to the throne. See, Christ’s work was not finished on the cross. His offering of Himself as the sacrifice was done, but His work-God’s ultimate plan and work-was far from finished on the cross. Jesus’ provable resurrection from the dead and ascension to the throne in heaven (by means of many eyewitness accounts) is what gives the Gentiles hope and proved to the Jews He was the prophesied Messiah according to Scripture. The promise of eternal life guaranteed by His resurrection, ascension, and offering of His blood in the heavenly realm secures their salvation, causing all nations to recognize He has the authority to reign. No Jesus, no resurrection, no ascension, no hope, no eternal life. Know Jesus, know the resurrection, know the ascension, you know hope, you know there’s eternal life available. Do all peoples and nations know Jesus and place their hope in Him? The obvious answer is no. Therein lies our purpose which was Paul’s purpose. “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,” (Rom 15:16-18) Christ arose, that’s the signal God’s given the world (Acts 17:30-31), and He is in glory. Our job? Take the message that provides hope and gives the nations a reason to bend their knee at the name of Jesus Christ. Now that brethren, according to the Lord, is a purpose driven life! Amen.