Hymn 78, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. Isaiah 11:1 KJV
By my front door, I have a rose bush brought from my previous home in Canton, Texas. The rose, called Belinda’s Dream, was cultivated by a TAMU professor who achieved a beautiful, fragrant, pink rose that is disease resistant, soil and heat tolerant, and roots readily. During my 15 years here, I have rooted dozens of cuttings that have been the start of many rose bushes in various locations. However, it can all be traced back to the original bushes first marketed in 1992.
Lineage was important to the Hebrews. God’s chosen family is traced from Abraham’s home in Ur to the promised land in Canaan where grandson Jacob’s twelve sons grew and multiplied. They then immigrated to Egypt under Joseph’s protection and later successfully made an exodus under Moses’ leadership. After conquering Canaan, Israel was established and reached its power under Jesse’s youngest son David, who was King. Isaiah, who lived after the kingdom was divided, prophesied that a descendant of Jesse would come forth as a suffering servant and a sovereign Lord.
Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ lineage back to David. Paul and other apostles often quoted written prophesies to show that Jesus lived, was crucified, died, and rose again, in fulfillment of those predictions. We are fortunate indeed to have the Bible with prophesies of the Old Testament, their fulfillment in the gospels, Jesus’ teachings to His disciples, the spread of God’s plan for salvation, and an untold number of commentaries available to us, plus the freedom to worship when and where we choose.
This 16th century German song refers to Jesus as a rose and its many verses (only four are in the hymn book and only three included in the version mentioned above) tell of events listed in the gospels. This song condenses the Bible to the fact that Jesus was a “true man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us, and lightens every load.”