Who was Jesse? Jesse was the father of King David. It was prophesied by Isaiah that the Messiah would come from the lineage of King David. "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit" (Isaiah 11:1) and "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious" (11:10). It was also foretold by Micah that the Messiah would hail from Bethlehem. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2).
Because of these prophecies concerning the Messiah, Matthew gives us the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1) and Luke provides the story of how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David (Luke 2). Thus they help to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus, of the tribe of Jesse, of the town of Bethlehem, is the full flowering of the Messianic promises made through the ages.
For Reflection: Christians were persecuted around the world this year. Some had their churches bombed. Some were not allowed to worship openly. Some were not allowed to visit Bethlehem for Christmas.
Let us pray. O Wisdom, O Lord, O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.