I DON’T NORMALLY write blog articles on Friday. Usually at this time of the afternoon, I’m diving into non-writing office stuff I’ve been putting off all week, while paraphrasing the Casual English Bible.®
Today is different.
I finished the first draft paraphrase of Isaiah 11 today.
I don’t look for Jesus in all the corners of the Old Testament, as some Christians do. I let the Old Testament tell its own story, in Isaiah’s case, from 700 years before Jesus came.
Try not to find Jesus here
I’ll give you the first 10 verses in the short chapter, with this challenge:
See if you can find one verse that doesn’t describe Jesus or at least hints of him, his teachings, and his influence in the world.
For me, it was a powerful experience trying to put those ancient words into everyday English for people who have never read the Bible before.
TWIG FROM DAVID’S FAMILY TREE
1 From the stump of King David’s family tree,
From the roots of his father Jesse,
A twig will sprout. 
2 The LORD’s Spirit will be with him,
Giving him wisdom and insight,
Gifts of a counselor,  and actions of a hero.
He’ll be savvy about life,
Respectful toward the LORD.
3 He honors God with respect,
And is delighted to do it.
He won’t judge people by how they look.
He won’t decide based on what they say.
4 He’ll treat the poor to goodness.
He’ll show them what fairness looks like.
But he’s going to shake the world with his words.
And he’ll sentence the wicked to death.
5 He’ll wrap his waist in the belt of goodness.
It’s the symbol of someone to trust.
6 Then wolves and lambs will live in peace,
With leopards and goats
Lions and cows.
And a child will lead them all.
7 Cows and bears graze together.
Their young sleep side by side,
As lions and oxen share the straw.
8 A breast-fed baby will play on the ground,
By the hole to the home of a cobra.
A curious child will push his hand
Deep into that hole in the ground.
9 No one hurts another,
Not in my holy presence.
For I’ll fill this world
With knowledge of who I am
Like water fills the sea.
IT’S TIME TO COME HOME
10 When that day comes, the former sprout from the root of Jesse’s family tree will stand tall enough for the whole world to see him. People everywhere will come looking for him, in the glorious place where he lives.
111:1 Many Christians and Jews say this is a prophecy about a coming messiah—a good and heroic king who will restore Israel to her glory days and make it even better. Christians have a hard time not seeing Jesus in this chapter. References to his character, his brave actions, and his influence throughout the world for these 2,000 years seem reflected in the symbols and metaphors we read. Many Jews, however, say they read this chapter literally. Some say the long-awaited Messiah, a savior-king from King David’s family, hasn’t come yet. As evidence, they site some of the prophecies not yet fulfilled: a wolf still eats a lamb (11:6). Even in human terms, the rich often feed on the poor. Yet among the followers of Jesus, the rich are taught to share with the poor. Some do. And others who know the Lord’s Prayer smell like lambchops.
211:2 “His name is Wonderful Advisor” (9:6).