-by Pastor Ashley Brown
The Branch of My Planting
One of the rarest – yet still significant – words in the Old Testament crops up in Isaiah 60. This word, branch, only occurs a few times in the Old Testament, and one of them is in verse 21.
Your people shall all be righteous;
they shall possess the land forever,
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
that I might be glorified.
The context of this verse is the final days, when the sun and moon will be no more, for the LORD will be the everlasting light of His people. At this time, the prophet declares, the people of God will be righteous, and they will eternally possess the Land of Promise. He goes on to say, in the second couplet of the verse, that the people who inherit the Land are the branch of God’s planting.
The Righteous Branch
Earlier, in Isaiah 11:1, we encounter another use of the term, branch.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
In chapter 11 Isaiah refers to the coming Messiah, from the line of King David (and his father Jesse), as the branch. Because of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 11, “the Branch” became a title referring to the long awaited Messiah, who would bring justice and deliverance for God’s people. Of course, this then prompts the question: Who is the Branch? Is it Messiah, or is it God’s people?
I Am the Vine
Our understanding of the relationship between the branch of Isaiah 11 and the branch of Isaiah 60 becomes clearer when we read John 15. On the night of His betrayal Jesus explained the relationship between Him and His people.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Jesus is the vine (the root branch) in which His people, the branches, dwell. The ability of a person’s to bear God-honoring fruit is directly dependent upon his abiding, being rooted, in Jesus. The Father prunes and throws in the fire anyone who does not abide in Jesus and bear fruit. However, bearing fruit distinguishes true disciple of Jesus. This is because it results in a person bringing glory to God, just like Isaiah says will happen in 60:21.
The Blessing of Being in Jesus
The idea is simply that the followers of Jesus find their identity and essence in Jesus Himself. He is the source of our life and our being. We are truly in Jesus, just as a branch is in the trunk, the vine root. And only when we are in Him can we receive all of the good and the blessing that is His. When Jesus comes into His inheritance of a New Creation, forever perfect, we will possess that Land of promise forever! It will be His! And because His followers will be in Him, it will be ours as well!