A tender shoot in dry ground

  • Sunday, December 20, 2015 1:01am
  • Neighbors

For many Christians, the passage in the Old Testament book, Isaiah, chapter 53, carries a powerful message from the prophet Isaiah, revealing the future suffering of Jesus. It is often read commemorating Jesus suffering and dying on the cross for our sins. But the chapter begins reminding us of the wonder of this Advent season.

The Old Testament prophet, in Isaiah, says in verses 1-2, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

The phrase, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground,” is what caught my attention. We lived in Eastern Oregon for a few years, in a region that was very dry. When the ground became very dry, it became very hard. If it was dry enough, it would crack, like dry skin. When I consider the fact that a tender shoot, a frail root, would grow out of dry ground, I remember seeing those tender blades of grass, pushing their way up through the dry, hard-packed ground in my yard, and wondered at the amazement of what that tender shoot/root had accomplished.

My wife and I drove through the Mount St. Helens volcano site, which erupted in May 1980, later that summer and again in 1982. During our first visit, the area was completely and totally gray, covered in ash. No color. No life. Two years later, we drove through again and tiny blades of green grass were growing up out of the vast grayness of ash across the area. It was amazing to see such a miracle of life amidst the bleak, gray world.

Jesus was born in a very spiritually dry time. The world was not ideal, in our minds, for the coming of the Son of God into the world. John’s Gospel says in 1:10-11, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” It was a very bleak and gray world, with very dry ground, spiritually speaking.

But, in Jesus, new life was springing up, bringing new life and new hope to the world. We may see our world today with many spiritually dry areas, many bleak things going on in the world, things that rob us of hope for a better tomorrow. But that is the very time Jesus comes. It is the very time He pushes up through the hard, dry, cracked world in which we live and brings life and hope and salvation. The baby Jesus born in Bethlehem, we believe, is that tender shoot; that root coming up in dry ground. Glory be to God!

• Daniel Wiese is the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene.

More in Neighbors

Tanya Renee Ahtowena Rorem at age 17. (Photo provided by Laura Rorem)
Living and Growing: ‘My name is Ahtowena’

My precocious two-year old broke loose from my grip and took off… Continue reading

The Pinkas Synagogue, the second-oldest building in Prague. (World Monuments Fund photo)
Living and Growing: Connecting to family ancestors through names of strangers on a wall in Prague

“Prague never lets you go…this dear little mother has sharp claws.” —… Continue reading

Individual eggplant parmesan rounds ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Individual eggplant parmesan rounds

These flavorful eggplant parmesans are a great side dish, especially served with… Continue reading

An aspiring knight relies on duct tape for his medieval battle gear during the Master’s Faire on July 16, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Gimme A Smile: Duct tape — an Alaskan’s best friend

Duct tape is an Alaskan tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix… Continue reading

Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)
Living and Growing: Be a blessing

Years ago, I learned a great acronym, B.L.E.S.S. “B” stands for “Begin… Continue reading

Salad ingredients ready to assemble. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Mexican corn and bean salad

Several years ago, I ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Los… Continue reading

A new online dictionary features Lingít, X̱aad Kíl, Shm’algyack and English. (Mircea Brown / Courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: Sealaska Heritage Institute debuts multilingual online Alaska Native dictionary with audio

Platform includes resources for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages.

Brent Merten is the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Juneau, a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (Photo courtesy of Brent Merten)
Living and Growing: Your room is waiting

Thursday, May 9, is a very special day. Although most calendars don’t… Continue reading

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park on Dec. 7, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Join interactive design meeting for Jackie Renninger Park on May 21 CBJ… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Living and Growing: Twisting Scripture to suit themselves

Ever wonder why so many different people say so many different things… Continue reading

The Ward Lake Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Neighbors: Public input sought as Tongass begins revising 25-year-old forest plan

Initial phase focuses on listening, informing, and gathering feedback.

Sister Sadria Akina, Elder Tanner Christensen and Elder Bronson Forsberg, all missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, collect litter on April 22, 2023, in the Lemon Creek area. It was their first time partaking in Juneau’s communitywide cleanup. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neighbors briefs

Annual Litter Free citywide cleanup on Saturday Saturday is set for Litter… Continue reading