You may have noticed Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry’s fourfold emphasis - history, integrity, truth, Scripture. Sparking meaningful discussion of the Scripture, the Old and New Testament, is heart and center of what we do. If indeed the Bible is God’s Word and directs us to Jesus, God the Son, we need to take its message very seriously. Every Tuesday my intention is to post some notes drawn from a commentary on some part of the Old Testament. Today we review Martin Luther’s comments on Isaiah chapter 11. Chapter 10 drew a picture of widespread destruction. Chapter 11 follows with a picture of restoration and peace. How does this come about? Not by the normal course of entropy that we might expect.
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 11” pp. 117-127.
Luther sees a fairly sharp distinction between Isaiah 10 and 11. The topic is significantly different. However, the spiritual peace and order in this chapter does follow logically from the external order noted in chapter 10 (LW 16, 117). In verse one, a “shoot,” Christ, will come from the “stump,” the Davidic kingdom (LW 16, 117). Despite even the opposition of the Roman empire, Jesus’ work will be accomplished (LW 16, 118). The Spirit of the Lord exercises power “in goodness and joy, not in weapons” (LW 16, 118). Luther notes that the wisdom, understanding, and counsel in verse two indicates a wholehearted and undistracted commitment to Jesus which will lead to hope and fearlessness (LW 16, 119). In verse three the Spirit of the Lord creates a delight in fearing God (LW 16, 120). Luther notes that genuine godliness may well be invisible as Christians live in society engaged in very normal tasks. The reverence for God is generally internal (LW 16, 121). Verse four emphasizes both the saving and destroying power of Christ’s word (LW 16, 121). The weaponry of Christ (v. 5) is righteousness and faithfulness (LW 16, 122).
Verse six becomes more allegorical, with fierce and tyrannical types living at peace with harmless creatures. Luther observes that the fierce makes peace with the harmless, not vice-versa (LW 16, 122). In this world of peace there is no harm (v. 9) (LW 16, 123). This Luther sees as the norm in the Church. Verse 10 sees the nations seeking Christ and coming into the kingdom (LW 16, 124). The Lord is the one who is raised up as a sign to the people. Luther comments that the rest of Christ is the start of his glorious reign. The king’s reign starts at his death. His kingdom spreads even as he seems to be ignored (LW 16, 125). Verses 11 and following point to a great gathering from all nations as people look to God in faith (LW 16, 125).
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