In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
A Banner for You
During the American Civil War, flags and banners played an important role in battles. Commanders used the colors of the banners to organize troop movements. Soldiers took pride in rallying around the flag. Those flags and banners were just colored pieces of cloth, but fighters from both sides of the war gave their lives in defense of their flag.
The first African American soldier to win the Medal of Honor is Sergeant William Carney. He was born into slavery but was granted freedom and joined the U.S. Army during the Civil War. During a charge at Fort Wagner in Charleston, the flag bearer next to him was killed. Before the American flag could touch the ground, Carney grabbed it and bravely advanced despite suffering several gunshot wounds himself. His fellow soldiers rallied to the banner as Carney planted it at the base of the fort. Carney survived, and in 1900 he received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples.” That Root of Jesse isn’t a colored piece of cloth, but the only one who could be both the Root of Jesse and the Shoot of Jesse—the Savior, Jesus.
As soldiers of old rallied to their flags and banners, Christians of all times and all nations rally to their banner, to Jesus. Jesus fought to free his people from the power and effects of sin. He heroically climbed a hill to his cross. Instead of the Medal of Honor, though, he received a crown of thorns. Instead of cheering him, the people around Jesus were jeering him. But still, he pressed on. He knew he had to give his life to give his followers a life free from sin. So, he took the punishment of every sinner.
Then, God raised Jesus from the dead. Now Jesus rules over all things. He gives life and immortality to all those who rally to his banner. To all who trust in him, Jesus gives the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. That’s a banner worth rallying to.
Dear Jesus, help me to rally to you by trusting in you now and always. Amen.