The Righteous Branch of God
“Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.””
Jeremiah was born in Anathoth, northeast of Jerusalem, around 627 BC. He was called by God as a boy to be a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah during its final years. He proclaimed the word of the Lord under the last five kings of Judah: Josiah, Jehoahaz (Shallum), Jehoiachin (Coniah), and Zedekiah. Josiah, you recall, was a good king who tried to reform the nation after finding the old book of the covenant in the temple (2 Kings 22, 23). But the rest of the kings were not good. Jeremiah 21:11–22:30 is a collection of oracles in which Jeremiah spoke from the Lord against these kings. I want us to look at this whole unit, because it all leads up to the prophecy of the coming king in Jeremiah 23:1–8.
Jeremiah had prophesied how the last few shepherds had left Judah totally devastated and misled. These kings were judged and the end of Jewish monarchy ended with the exile of King Zedekiah. However, God did not allow it to end on a bad note but continue to surprise us with hope! Jeremiah prophesied of the righteous branch who would come to lead His people righteously and justly. This righteous branch is Jesus the Messiah. He will be the One who saves.
1) He will shepherd His people!
The righteous branch will shepherd His people again. The promise of God comes through at the end. In spite of the exile; in spite of suffering and abandonment, God will once again shepherd His people. He is our Lord and our Salvation!
2) He will rule wisely and righteously!
God’s leading is always true and just. He will act justly and righteously. Jesus leads us in righteousness and not to follow after the ways of this world. Let Him lead you today and submit under His wise leadership!
3) He will bring salvation to all!
Salvation can come by no other name except through Jesus! Even after the people had returned from Babylon, they only see a partial fulfilment of the word of Jeremiah.
“Nothing has happened, since Jeremiah spoke those words, which can be called their final fulfillment. The return after the Babylonian exile was a partial fulfillment; and the establishment of modern Israel and the return of many Jews to that land today is, I believe, also a partial fulfillment….Zionism without Christ is idolatry. The attempt of Israel to fulfill the first half of Jeremiah’s prophecy without submission to the second half is insurrection against the king.”
– John Piper –
Therefore, a rejection of Jesus to fulfil the prophecy of Jeremiah is a rejection of the salvation promised through the Messiah. Let us remember that God sent His Son to redeem us from all unrighteousness.
Lord, thank you for sending Your Son to be our righteousness. Let us live with the hope You have given to us through Jesus. Bless my brothers and sisters in Christ to trust in the Good Shepherd and the righteous branch of God. In Jesus’ Name, amen!
*All scripture quotations taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) bible.
Christopher Ho was formerly a FES (Fellowship of Evangelical Students) staff-worker and has been involved with campus ministries ever since he graduated from Singapore Polytechnic in 1995. He serves as a children and youth pastor in our Chinese congregation. Married with three children, Christopher is passionate about reaching and discipling young people both locally and overseas.