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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 12 April 2007
ISAIAH, MARY PREDICT CHRIST'S ACTIONS AGAINST OPPRESSION

By Jim Jordal

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but 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 slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

Isaiah 11:1-5 (NKJV)

And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. For His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts; He has put down the mighty from their thrones; and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent away empty."

The Magnificat of Mary, Luke 1:46-53 (NKJV)

Many Christians think and act as if the only earthly mission of Jesus was to bring personal salvation to "whosoever will." And certainly that was a major goal of His. But I think Scripture reveals that Jesus also lived and died, as the prophecies by Isaiah and Jesus' mother Mary reveal, to bring deliverance to the poor, oppressed, disenfranchised masses of the earth.

If these two prophecies stood alone, unsupported by other Scripture, then we might reasonably interpret them as promises concerning the ultimate conquest of evil by Christ. But these two prophecies speak, not only of generic evil, but also of specific attitudes and economic actions by evil persons and groups deserving of Christ's approbation. Hence we read in the passage from Isaiah that the Messiah King arising from the line of David will possess Spirit-anointed knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and fear of the Lord (perhaps better translated as reverence for God).

It's interesting that the terms knowledge, understanding, and wisdom have different meanings in educational usage. Knowledge means rote ability to remember information in the form of facts, theories, or truths; while understanding implies not only knowing the words, but comprehending their meaning. But neither of these is of much use without wisdom, or the ability to equitably apply this information. And even wisdom can be misused in the absence of reverence for God, as we observe almost continuously in actions of American courts, legislatures, and executive leaders.

So Isaiah is proclaiming that Jesus knows and can rightly apply Divine truth to human situations. And that's exactly what He did during His short time on earth. Consider the many gospel accounts where He refuted opposition with His knowledge and ability to mercifully apply Mosaic Law to all situations.

And that is exactly what Christ will do when He takes His earthly kingdom. In His role as Judge of the Nations (see Matt. 25:31-46) He will judge (defend, avenge, vindicate) the poor with righteousness and "decide with equity for the meek of the earth." His supernatural perception will transcend normal human faculties and senses as He discerns the truth of oppression and injustice perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and needy.

Christ will "strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked." These phrases imply that the rule of Christ as He deals with oppressive, evil persons, nations, and systems will be forceful in nature. The major power applied against evil will arise from the very words of His mouth, as given in the Mosaic Law, reiterated by the prophets, and taught by the Master Himself during His earthly sojourn.

The Magnificat of Mary further arraigns Christ's power into the very attitudes and hidden motivations of those using their legal and financial power to oppress the poor. The manipulators and abusers of economic power will be removed from their thrones--positions of influence within the system--and will be sent away empty of wealth, power, personal meaning, and eternal life. And the lowly will be exalted and the hungry filled with good things. So the balances are redressed as Christ takes His long-awaited kingdom. That's justice, God's way.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1978, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.