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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 23:5

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, February 23, 2015

5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
      “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
he will reign wisely as King
  and do what is just and right in the land.

Three prophets talk about this righteous Branch. Isaiah told us that “a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1). Later, Jeremiah will add that the Branch “will do what is just and right in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). Still later, after the exiles returned from Babylon, Zechariah explained that Israel’s remaining leaders would be men “symbolic of things to come,” and that God’s true servant would be this “Branch” (Zechariah 3:8), and that he would be the one to build the temple, another way of saying that the Branch would build God’s church (Zechariah 6:12).

This Branch is not a string of rulers from King David’s family. The Branch would be a single Ruler who would be truly righteous, and who would “do what is just and right in the land.”

The difference between Christ and all other rulers is that other rulers fail. Either they are men like King Zedekiah (Judah’s last king) who was not righteous at all, or they are like King Solomon, whose righteousness was flawed with sins of idolatry and who did seek the righteousness of his people. Other rulers fail when they try to force people to act as if they are righteous, masking their hypocrisy and idolatry with a veneer of good citizenship. Still others fail when they pretend that people will choose to be righteous all by themselves without any instruction or even any opportunity for instruction.

Christ’s righteousness is displayed for us in the way he obeyed God’s will perfectly, even when tempted by the devil (Mark 1:12-13; Hebrews 4:15). He also showed his righteousness with his godly wisdom (“he will reign wisely”), teaching and answering questions all throughout his ministry, even welcoming a repentant sinner into the kingdom of God while being crucified (Luke 23:43).

He is the Branch, the One who is truly righteous, the wise King, and the one who does what is just and right. He is Jesus our Savior, the promised Messiah. We put our faith in him because through him we have eternal life. He didn’t leave it all up to us or force it on us. Instead, he offers himself, and through him we receive the righteousness of God.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.