The Jesse Tree is a Medieval image or motif created to tell the story of the Old Testament’s fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ. It is often found in illuminated Bible manuscripts as well as in many cathedral stained glass windows.
What does the Jesse Tree signify?
As the people of God awaited their messiah, Israel knew that God’s special king would arise from the house and lineage of King David. God promised King David in 2 Samuel 7:7-13 that, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” In spite of the division of the Kingdom of Israel under King David’s grandson, Rehoboam, the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria, the exile of Judah at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, their return from exile under Cyrus, and the four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments, the people of God continued to hope in God’s promises to David through Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah:
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1-2). “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” (Jeremiah 33:15).
“And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD” (Zechariah 6:12).
Jesse Tree Advent Art Project
Over the past year and continuing through 2020, GPC students participating in Rooted in Christ are making use of the Jesse Tree to learn how Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. They have been making and will continue to make Jesse Tree ornaments to serve as an Advent calendar of sorts. GPC-er, Asher McClain, has designed and has added his own pyrography to a tree which will display these ornaments. Please take a moment to look at their work and see if you are able to connect the ornament’s design with the Bible story it signifies.
We hope this project will make your preparation and celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ who is the Son of David, God With Us!