Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Read: Isaiah 11:1-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse. (v. 1)

This lovely German carol dates from the 14th century. The biblical verse on which it was based is Isaiah 11:1. The Rose of whom we sing is a flower on the “shoot from the stump of Jesse,” which is a symbol of the promised Messiah whose coming Isaiah foretold.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming / From tender stem hath sprung! / Of Jesse’s lineage coming / As men of old have sung. This was a favorite biblical image in the Middle Ages, depicted not just musically but visually. Some medieval cathedrals have stained glass windows that feature the “Jesse Tree.” It shows a sleeping figure—Jesse, King David’s father—from whose side a stalk grows upward, sprouting kings along the way and climaxing in the figure of Jesus enthroned at the top.

A tree stump is dead, or at least it seems to be. When Judah’s last king was taken away into exile in Babylon, it looked like the house of David, the line of Jesse, was dead as well. But ours is a God who can bring life out of death, like a green shoot from a dry stump. He did it once when he sent Jesus into the world as the true Son of David, the King whose reign shall have no end. He did it again when he raised Jesus from the grave and exalted him in glory. He will do it finally when Jesus comes again to raise us from death in order to share in his reign.

As you pray, thank God, the giver of life, for giving you life and hope.

Listen along: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming – The Brilliance

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.

This entry is part 3 of 25 in the series Carols and Lessons