Text: Isaiah 11:1–10
Theme: The kingdom of peace
Other Lessons: Psalm 72:1–7; Romans 15:4–13; Matthew 3:1–12
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for today.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You
Our God is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain
For the sin of the world, His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
Oh every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb. Amen.
A. For many of you, our text from Isaiah 11 conjures up a very clear image.
1. You can just see a wolf and lamb playing with each other,
2. a lion grazing contentedly,
3. a baby laughing near the hole of a cobra.
4. Such a strange, enchanting picture of nature at peace may have been in
your children’s Bible or hung in your childhood bedroom.
5. But how many nurseries are adorned with an artist’s rendering of how
“the lion will lie down with the lamb”?
B. Because of the association with those romantic illustrations from our
youth, the Old Testament Reading today may come across more like that of a
fable or fairy tale, a sweet but ultimately mythical description of the way
life really is or ever will be.
1. But far from it!
2. In beautiful, vivid, memorable picture language, God is giving us here a
very real promise about both Jesus’ coming and the salvation he brings.
C. In Christ, the Kingdom of Peace Isaiah Pictured Is Here and Now.
I. Isaiah sees Jesus coming as the King of peace.
A. As with so much of Isaiah’s poetry, the key is context.
1. If we understand the surrounding verses, we’ll better understand what
Isaiah is pointing to when he tells of vegetarian lions and domesticated
2. In the very first verse, Isaiah says that “there shall come forth a
shoot from the stump of Jesse” (verse 1).
3. What is this but a prophecy of Jesus’ line of descent and birth?
4. When Jesus was born, the line of Jesse, King David’s father, had been
reduced to a stump.
5. The Davidic monarchy had been routed and kept down by the empires of
Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
6. Yet, “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming From tender stem hath sprung! Of
Jesse’s lineage coming As prophets long have sung” (LSB 359:1).
B. About this same Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord rests. Isaiah writes:
1. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom
and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge
and the fear of the Lord” (verse 2).
2. Jesus, the Son of David, went forth “full of the Spirit” and manifested
himself before all Israel.
3. At his Baptism, the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove and came
to rest on him.
C. On Jesus rests the Spirit of wisdom and understanding.
1. During his humble ministry, he demonstrated a wisdom which had been
hidden from the beginning of the world;
2. he spoke and gave insight into heavenly things which only he knows (John
D. On Jesus rests the Spirit of counsel and might.
1. By his suffering and death, David’s Son, the King of Israel, loosed the
bonds which held people captive and overcame the enemies of the human race:
C. and the devil.
E. On Jesus rests the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
1. He was obedient to his Father’s will, even unto death, to lead the lost
children of the world back to God.
A. Now through the Spirit, the Lord plants:
B. the knowledge of God,
C. true love and true fear of God,
D. into the hearts of men.
F. His work completed, the Son of David now sits on the throne of his
1. “And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by
what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with
righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek
of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and
with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall
be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (verses
A. Christ bears the scepter of peace, not judging by what his eyes see or
deciding disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness judging the
poor, deciding with equity in the interests of the meek.
B. To us troubled sinners, Christ gives us justice.
C. He makes poor, miserable sinners like us right with God by covering our
sin and presenting them blameless to God the Father.
G. At the same time, the godless, those who reject the scepter of this
king, who reject his peace and grace, are put to shame.
1. They behold him glorified but receive the punishment due their rejection
2. Again as Isaiah puts it:
A. “He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the
breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (verse 4).
H. This, in short, is what the first five verses are all about.
1. Some 750 years before the fact, Isaiah foretells the coming of Jesus,
the King of peace.
2. What Isaiah now goes on to describe is the kingdom of peace—the domain
that Jesus will rule.
II. Isaiah sees Jesus ruling over the kingdom of peace.
A. We read at the end of the passage that the root of Jesus will stand as a
signal for the peoples (verse10).
1. The nations shall inquire of him, and his resting place will be
2. And here is the wonderful surprise for us:
A. This holy time has already come!
B. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, has come.
C. His name and his cross have been set up as a signal on the earth.
D. It is visible everywhere.
E. Those near and far have salvation and peace preached to them.
F. The nations, sinners from all over the earth, acknowledge it.
G. They confess that in no other is salvation to be found, that no other
name under heaven is given among men by which they must be saved.
H. They come and kneel before the crucified Christ.
B. We all know that not all believe in this Christ.
1. This same Christ is also a sign that is spoken against, as Simeon
foretold in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:34).
2. Christ has been appointed for the fall of many.
3. But many also come—from all peoples and lands.
4. There are always new flocks who stream to
A. the signal on the mountain,
B. to the manger in Bethlehem,
C. to the cross at Golgotha,
D. new flocks who find peace and rest for their souls.
5. They inquire after the one who has redeemed them.
6. And as the waters cover the sea, so numerous are they who acknowledge
the Lord and serve him.
C. Watch what this means for the community that trusts in Jesus.
1. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with
the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their
young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned
child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain” (verses 6–9).
2. In the kingdom of Christ, there is no malice.
3. Those who acknowledge the Lord renounce the works of the devil.
4. And although we sinners still sin, there remains an ever-flowing
fountain of mercy.
5. Day to day, we receive from Christ grace upon grace, as well as peace
and strength for all good works.
D. This then is what Isaiah means when he says the wolf shall dwell with
the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and so on.
1. The prophet is painting a picture of paradise.
2. Wolves, lions, and bears dwelling alongside lambs, calves, and young
3. The wild animals not feeding on flesh and blood but instead going into
pasture and eating straw like the oxen, no longer feral and ferocious but
III. This kingdom of peace that Isaiah sees we live in even now!
A. This is not a fairy tale or one of Aesop’s fables.
1. Nor is it primarily a description of what life will finally be like in
2. No, this is the kingdom of grace in which we live now!
3. This is what the Church that Christ built, even now being assembled from
out of all the nations, looks like now!
4. These scenes from the natural world are a metaphor, an allegory, for the
peace that the Christian Church enjoys this very moment:
A. a peace in sharp contrast to the world’s lack of peace,
B. its continual conflict and war,
C. everyone looks to take advantage of his neighbor,
D. the sons of men do not know the way of peace,
E. people are quick to shed innocent blood,
F. and yes, there is poison on their lips.
B. Lions eating straw and wolves lying down with lambs?!
1. The Gospel makes possible even greater things than that!
2. The wild beasts are a picture of how human beings really are—just as
given to sin by nature as a wolf is to eating meat.
3. But a lion deciding to go vegan is nothing compared to God taking a
sinful human being, releasing him from the guilt of all his or her sin, and
giving them a heart that no longer wants to sin but wants to do only the
will of God!
C. As new creatures in Christ, united with the One who alone is holy by
nature but who shares his holiness with us, this is exactly what has
happened to us.
1. God has created in us new hearts so that, while sin still clings, we
truly want to please God and serve our neighbors.
2. This is completely unnatural from the perspective of our old sinful
3. The disciples who out of fear abandoned Jesus in his hour of need did
what came naturally.
4. But transformed by the power of the resurrection and by the risen Jesus’
own word to them, “Peace be with you,” they went on to suffer persecution
and imprisonment and even martyrdom for the sake of his name.
5. You and I likewise have been transformed by the Holy Spirit’s
intervening in our lives and making us into the kind of people we would
never possibly be without him.
D. To be sure, even the Church, the Bride of Christ, still has her spots
1. But she washes herself daily in the blood of the Lamb and is made a new
2. We who have been:
A. won by the Gospel,
B. who believe in Christ and serve Christ,
C. where we deny our worldly lusts,
D. we lay aside our wild nature and habits
E. in all this, we daily strive to put down our inborn wrath and bitterness
F. Only with the help of the Spirit, we are careful to maintain unity in
the bond of peace.
G. Instead of doing harm to one another, we do good to one another whether
it’s convenient or not.
H. For here there is no more Jew or Greek, slave or free, man or woman
I. We are all one in Christ.
1. Today, we have guests from Community of Faith Lutheran Church, with
Pastor Randall Lewis, their pastor. Welcome!
2. We are all ONE IN CHRIST!!
A. The well-established convention of expressing historical dates as BC or
AD is gradually being discarded in favor of BCE and CE.
1. In an attempt to be sensitive to non-Christians but is a blatant effort
to cause further division and strife, more and more textbooks, instead of
BC, which stands for “Before Christ,” are using “BCE,” which stands for
“Before the Common Era.”
2. And instead of AD, which is short for a Latin phrase (Anno Domini) that
means “in the year of the Lord,” various publications are now using the
initials “CE,” which stands for “Common Era.”
3. It’s a bit like replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays.”
4. And it’s just as laughable, because while saying BCE and CE does manage
to avoid referring to Christ or suggesting that Jesus is the Lord, the
numbering system remains the same!
5. The birth of Jesus is still the anchor date.
6. After all, with what event does the so-called “Common Era” begin?
7. The birth of Jesus Christ, of course!
8. The current year is 2022 CE, but 2,022 years since when?
9. The birth of Jesus Christ, of course!
10. Scholars may change the letters, but the substance remains; the world’s
own calendars continue to bear witness to the fact that what Isaiah
prophesied (whether in 750 BC or 750 BCE) has come to pass: the “signal for
the peoples” has come (Isaiah 11:10).
B. This peace the Lord speaks of through Isaiah will be perfected in the
world to come.
1. At that time, Christ’s kingdom and reign will become true glory and
2. But the kingdom of peace has come already and is now, just as surely as
the King of peace has come already and now lives and reigns to all
3. God grant that we recognize anew and afresh the great blessings he has
already bestowed on us in his kingdom!
4. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
C. Let us pray:
So open up the gates, make way before the King of kings
Our God who calls the saved is here to set the captives free. Amen.
D. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.