Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at the lives of Saul and David, kings of Israel. but now I would like to turn our attention to the life of Jesus.
Quick Note to the Reader:
Originally, I had thought to cover this in one post. However, as I began writing I noticed that attempting to limit the content I wanted to share would not do. In a short time, I had more material than I could ever hope to cover adequately in one article. Rather than tediously draw the reader in only to make them stare at a screen for a lengthy period of time, I have decided to cut my main body of writing into shorter sections (pleasant news to my wife to be sure!).
So, if you find that I have seemingly stopped at a point that you think I could have said more please be patient. My desire is to draw each section into a smoothly flowing narrative. How far this will go on, I can’t be sure, but I am hoping that this subject will be thoroughly handled to the best of my ability.
To be frank, I am somewhat baffled by professing Christians that do not spend much time in the writings of the older canon of Scripture (O.T., Tanakh). How can you understand the “red letter” portions of your Bible, if you are not grounded in the foundation from which those writings grew from? Well, perhaps I can aide you somewhat in learning of the rich treasure trove that you have at your disposal. If you would only mine through it like silver and gold and precious gems, you would find that the depths of wealth God has given you is fathomless.
Back to the issue…
So, as I was saying earlier, I want to turn our attention to David and Jesus. In particular, I want to see how the two (David and Jesus) comport with one another. We also want to ask the question: On what grounds do we find the Son of David (Jesus) accomplishing what his earthly ancestor (king David) could not?
There is no question that David was a holy man of God. Not holy in and of himself, but holy in the sense of what God had graciously done for him. David had a heart after the Lord’s own heart, because David’s heart had been circumcised by God (cf. Deut 30.6). The Spirit quickened David in such a way that God’s will—both in knowing and in fulfilling—were desirous to him (Psa 63.1). He loved God, he loved God’s Word, and as a result he loved his neighbor. All of these are definite expressions of fulfillment of God’s law; a matter of the heart.
Now the question that might be raised to challenge what has been said thus far is: “How could he truly love God and desire to be in step with God’s will (heart/mind) if he sinned in the manner that he did? In other words, there are instances in the life of David that seem to indicate that his motives and intentions were the exact opposite of a man who loved God’s heart.
Salvation Belongs to the Lord…
The short answer is found in the fact that “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psa 3.8; Jon 2.9; Isa 43.11), not to the activities of the person. Examples of God’s saving grace abound in the early pages of Scripture, not just the later ones. We see that Noah found the favor of the Lord God (Gen 6.8) in a generation that was violently wicked towards God’s will (Gen 6.5). Abraham (then known as Abram) was living in the land of Ur, across the great river (Euphrates), as a pagan when God called him out (Josh 24.2; Gen 12.1). Moses was a pride filled murderer when he stumbled upon a burning bush on the side of a mountain (Exod 2.11, 3.1-4).
Each time grace was found, but not because these individuals were looking for it (cf. Psa 53.2-4). Noah did not find God’ favor under a rock, no more than Abram found it across the river, nor Moses in a bush. Their own desire and intention did not lead them to God, but because God desired to reveal Himself to them, they received His grace (i.e., favor; see Isa 65.1-2).
Each one of these men demonstrated that they too had a heart for the Lord, but we can see moments of failure on their part because they were sinners. Just like the rest of humanity. Salvation is all of grace because salvation is all of God in that He does what we cannot do for ourselves.
In fact, the greatest evidence of this truth is found in the beginning, in the garden. Adam and Eve did not run to God for mercy. They did not seek His forgiveness for the atrocious crime they committed, but made every effort to hide from the face of the Lord (Gen 3.7-8). His calling them out, His confronting them in their sin and delving out punishment was tempered in the fact that He showed them kindness when they did not seek it (Gen 3.9, 11, 14-19). By covering them with animal skins, the Lord God demonstrated what is necessary in order for people to be saved (Gen 3.21). The giver of life gave a life so that they might live. And while it is true, they were cast from the garden, driven from the tree of life, the sacrifice on their behalf was an arrow pointing straight towards the source of salvation their Creator.
The Reason for David’s sin…
David, like all of us was born in Adam. He was Adam’s physical heir, just as he was Abraham’s physical heir, just as he was Judah’s physical heir, the son of Jesse. As my grandpa would say, David like the rest of humanity was “cut from the same cloth.” Thus, we should not be surprised to see his life—like the rest of humanity—littered with sin (i.e., lawlessness, unrighteousness, unholiness). Therefore, his desire to serve the Lord with all his heart and to fulfill God’s will in all that he did as a living vessel is not a natural desire, but a spiritual one.
But our focus is not truly on David. He is offered as a type or pattern or shadow of what was to come (on this theme we shall return in a later post).
Now there are many instances in the Bible of such people. Individuals that give us glimpses of what the true image bearer of God is to look like. They offer us a contrast. Just like white placed on a black background helps us see more clearly the beauty of the white image placed over top of it; so too, is the promised Son of David to come. When properly contrasted with the second king of Israel. To David’s heir we now begin to turn…
Through the prophet Nathan, God promised David:
“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. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2Sam 7.12-14a; emphasis added).
Jesus, the Son of David…
Who is the Son of David? During his ministry Jesus asked this question of those positioned in Israel as teachers of the Word of God. Experts in all things God-breathed, if you will.
Jesus inquired of those gathered about him:
“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” (Matt 22.42).
In response to their answer— “the son of David” (v. 42b)—Jesus offers up a follow-up question:
“How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” (Matt 22.43-45; italics added).
That ended the conversation, and no one dared challenge him openly until the night of his trial (Matt 22.46; cf. 26.62-63).
What brought about the confrontation…er um…conversation? The people were identifying Jesus as the son of David, the promised king, the prophet of God as he entered into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. They were shouting praises of honor and glory to him and to God above (Matt 21.1-11; cf. Mark 11.1-10; Luke 19.36-40; John 12.12-15).
Jesus heads into the temple (Matt 21.12), turns over the money tables because the people have turned His Father’s “house of prayers…[into] a den of robbers” (Matt 21.13; Jer 7.11), and he begins healing “the blind and the lame [that] came to him in the temple” (Matt 21.14; Jer 31.8). As a result, “the children [were] crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matt 21.15; Jer 31.9; 33.15). This infuriated the religious leadership and they challenged him: “Do you hear what these are saying?” (Matt 21.16). The very next day, when Jesus enters the temple and starts teaching those same people say to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matt 21.24).
Though many other things are said by Jesus to shut the mouths of his opponents, the answer to where this authority of his is derived is found in his sonship to David. This identifies Him as Lord. Not just any Lord (or king) mind you, but one who is to be seated at the right hand of God (Psa 110; cf. Psa 2).
To be continued…