Focal Passage: Jeremiah 23:5-6, Romans 3:10-13, 21-26
Even though Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet,” he was given the task of bringing hope to God’s people. It is important to note that it is God who initiated the hope and also God who raised up the person of hope.
In Zechariah 3:8 God promises, “”Listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your colleagues sitting before you; indeed, these men are a sign that I am about to bring My servant, the Branch.”
These prophets were given incredible messages from their God who was absolutely in charge. Isaiah 11:1-2 expounds with even more detail about the Righteous Branch.
The prophet promises, “Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him — a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
There was not much hope in the days of these three prophets and there is not an abundance of hope going around today. It is a blessed thought that we serve the One who is called, “The Lord is Our Righteousness.” I am a great sinner that serves a great savior and He has dealt with me righteously, but with grace and mercy.
There is no one righteous: This thought of no one being righteous seems like a given to the casual reader. It is quite another thought when we consider that God puts these words in the mind of the Apostle Paul.
We are all familiar with Paul’s claim that he was the worst of sinners. Some could say that he was overstating, but before he met Christ, he was a persecutor of the church and actually held the coats of those that stoned one of God’s choice servants. There are those that might say Romans 12-13 are a little harsh, but we must note the similarities to the words of Jesus.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they were like the whitewashed tombs which looked really nice on the outside, but on the inside, they were defiled and full of decay. You really can’t get much worse than being compared to a rotting corpse. Isaiah 64 reminds us, “All of our good is like filthy rags (like those wrapped around a leper’s skin), but through the work of the “Righteous Branch” we are washed whiter than snow.
The righteousness of God revealed: The word “righteousness” is often a theological word that people want to avoid. It is really a mistake to not want to understand something because we are afraid that we can’t attain it. To be measured against the demands of the Law is a very intimidating thought for any of us. Jesus in His perfect fulfillment of the Law provided for our ability to be appropriated God’s rightness.
Jesus made us “right with God” by living in perfect obedience to the Law of God. He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that He could become our “mercy seat” on which the sin offering was placed. God himself became the sacrifice that He demanded for the atonement of our sin. B&R