The Branch

To be honest . . . it kills me to be offline . . . that’s where I’ve mostly been these past few days. We drove down to Santa Cruz to see my second oldest graduate as an RN . . . and now we (as in Sue and I, all the girls, a couple of sons-in-law, and one of our “adopted” daughters) are at the lodge that she and her husband manage outside of Yreka CA (check out the URL if your interested http://www.scottriverlodge.com/lodgeindex/#/lodge-gallery/ ). Here, though, the “offline-ness” is due to being “online” with the family. How blessed am I? Pretty!!!!

As I’m wrapping up my reading plan for the year I’ve been working my way through Zechariah . . . and the pause for thought phrase that’s caught me is “the Branch.”

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring My servant the Branch. And say to Him, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, the Man whose name is the Branch: for He shall branch out from His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD. It is He who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on His throne. . . .”    (Zechariah 3:8, 6:12-13 ESV)

At this time of year we tend to focus on the names of the Savior . . . Immanuel, God with Us . . . Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace . . . “and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” How sweet is the name of Jesus? So sweet! And for the past couple of days, amidst all the “familiar” names of the Son of God at this birthday remembrance, another has been added . . . the Branch.

Not the grand limb . . . not the flourishing bough . . . but the Branch . . . a sprout . . . a shoot of the Davidic tree. Come, the first time, as God’s faithful servant . . . a meek, lowly, tender Branch. Come, the first time, to rule not on an earthly throne over a physical kingdom . . . but to rule in the hearts of men who, by faith alone, due to grace alone, invite Him in as Sovereign of their lives and welcome the establishment of His kingdom into their lives.

A King who came, the first time, as a servant. The LORD of Creation born as man that He might be the Lamb of God. The Branch . . . a hint of the rule of God over the affairs of men . . . born to die on a tree . . . that through His death, we might know life . . . and life to the full!

But, “Behold the Man whose name is the Branch” will return . . .  to build a temple . . . to bear royal honor . . . and to sit and rule on His throne!  The Branch is coming again!

The Tender Shoot returns as Mighty Warrior. The meek and lowly Jesus comes again with a name written on His thigh, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Just as we anticipate the celebration of His birth tomorrow, so too we anticipate the culmination of salvation’s plan with His return in a day which we hope is not too far away . . . and which we believe could be today.

The world is still as unfriendly to the Branch as it was then . . . His grace compelling Him to wait patiently . . . His Spirit actively wooing men and women toward the Savior. But, there is coming a day . . .

And so, I bless the Branch . . . and I beckon the King.

A blessed Christmas to all . . . for His glory.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.    (John 1:14 ESV)

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