Jeremiah 33:14-16 - Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."
Have you ever seen a fruit cocktail tree? Most trees produce only one kind of fruit, and all the branches of the tree are the same. But with a fruit cocktail tree, you can get apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums from the same tree. It works because some of the branches are strange; they didn't naturally grow out of the tree they live on now. Someone has cut them from other trees and then grafted them all on to the same trunk. Strange branches produce unexpected fruit.
King David's family tree is a little like a fruit cocktail tree. It is a human family tree; every branch bears real people, but one branch is different from all the rest, strange. What makes it different? That branch is righteous: good, holy, perfect. This is Jesus' branch. In a tree full of sinners, He sticks out like a single branch of peaches among plums.
The prophet Jeremiah described Jesus as a righteous branch who will rule God's people in justice. But he says that Jesus will go further than that. "In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely." Jesus is coming to do more than govern; He is going to be our Savior. And then the prophet tops it all off by giving Jesus a name: "The Lord is our righteousness."
Wait a minute. Whose righteousness? Jeremiah says Jesus is our righteousness! The prophet knows perfectly well that we have no righteousness of our own. We are all of us imperfect, sinful human beings -- the fruit we bear is rotten and wormy, even the best of it. We are infected with evil, and on our own, we can never overcome it. We need help.
But that's where the strange branch comes in. When God grafted Jesus into the human family tree, He did more than just stick a single unusual branch among us. He put a branch into our tree that has the power to transform all the other branches, too. We aren't just watching while Jesus does His own strange thing, apart from us and our problems. Because Jesus is our Savior, He is changing all our branches as well -- making everyone who trusts in Him into people who are like Him.
Because Jesus has died and risen for our sake, we too can be righteous. Jesus is our righteousness now. When God looks at us, He doesn't see bad branches bearing rotten fruit. He sees branches that belong to Jesus -- righteous with His righteousness.
That is good news for us!
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for becoming my righteousness and making me one of Your branches. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Today's Bible Readings: Ezekiel 30-32 1 Peter 4
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