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Jesus, the Son of David

Last Sunday in church, our pastor had a message that pertained to the shepherds the angels appeared to when Jesus was born. i’m sure he had some very good points, but my mind was chasing rabbits down a different trail. Because our pastor read both Luke 2 and 1 Samuel 16 in tandem throughout his sermon, i started thinking of how David and Jesus were alike. So my notes for that sermon are not about that sermon at all, but rather the first outline that would later become this post. We’ll jump right to it, but first a disclaimer: i am new to this and to theology (i can’t even definitively define the word yet), but i love seeing connections between the Old and New Testament, i love seeing the Bible as one connected story, and i love seeing God’s promises in the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. If i let God lead and do my best and you extend me some grace, i’m sure this will work just fine.

Firstly, let’s look at why Jesus is called the Son of David. In 2 Samuel 7 God promises David, through the prophet Nathan, that his throne and kingdom would be established forever. Even after the line of David falls and Israel is exiled, this promise still stands. God is still promising to send Israel a king of the house of David. Isaiah 9, verse 6 and 7, “For a child will be born for us…He will reign on the throne of David…from now on and forever.” Also, Isaiah 11. i just love how this chapter starts. “Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse…” A shoot is a new growth and a stump is the dead remains of a tree. So from a seemingly dead stump (Jesse>David) a new shoot will grow. God is reminding His people of His promise here, telling them not to give up hope! He can bring life and growth where there is none, He. is. not. done! The promised King is still coming, have hope! And He keeps reminding them. Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 9 to name a few. Then, in Matthew 1:1…

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:” The first thing Matthew does is establish Jesus’s lineage, all the way back to Abraham. And he calls him Jesus Christ, and later the Christ. Christ means “anointed one”. Going back to 1 Samuel 16 we see that Samuel anointed David as the one God had chosen to be king over Israel. So David was physically anointed by Samuel as God’s chosen, and Jesus, the Son of David, was the Christ, the “anointed one.” He is the one God had sent to His people, the one He had promised them, us! Christ (Greek) and Messiah (Hebrew) both mean the same thing. Then we have Jesus or Yeshua, the name God gave to Joseph in a dream. This means “to save, rescue, deliver,” or as a noun, “Salvation.” How amazing is that?? So loosely translated, Christ Jesus becomes “the anointed one is Salvation.” God is in the details, y’all! This one, this baby born to this virgin, this is the King and the Savior God had been promising to His people! He is the Son of David and He will establish an eternal kingdom! God remembered His promise and, in the right time, He fulfilled that promise.

i’m already awed and i still have quite a list to get through. Next up, we have their kinglyness….or lack thereof. When Samuel came to tell Jesse that God had chosen one of his sons to be king of the Israelites, Jesse trotted out 7 of his sons before he even mentioned an eighth. A young shepherd boy he hadn’t even bothered to call in from the field. But when David was eventually fetched, God said “this is the one I have chosen.” The last one to be considered is the one God chose. Read 1 Samuel 16:8: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his [Eliab’s] appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do no see what the Lord see, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” God was after David’s heart, not whether he looked like a ruler. And what about Jesus? We know He had a humble birth (born in a stable, not even we are that humble), a simple life before His ministry (He was a carpenter), and there is no mention whatsoever about him being handsome or good looking. Judas had to point Him out to the mob when he betrayed Him, He didn’t stand out in any particular way. Jesus and His life were not what you would expect of a king, it was very humble and down to earth. He was humble and meek, yet carried the authority of God. As was David; he started out as a simple shepherd but God placed a king’s mantle on his shoulders.

Both Jesus and David were born in Bethlehem. Jesus, the Son of David, the one prophesied for generations to sit on the throne of David and establish an everlasting kingdom, was born in the city of David. i’ll say it again: God is in the details. David was a shepherd; Jesus is the Shepherd. David protected his flock from a lion and a bear; Jesus shelters us from the lions and bears (metaphorically) of this world, He leaves the 99 in order to find and rescue the 1 lost sheep. David was the first king chosen by God; Jesus is the King, the King of Kings. It would be easy to just write off some of these as coincidence, but i don’t believe in coincidences where God is concerned. He is too awesome for that. It’s a coincidence when you and a friend both wear a blue shirt to lunch; it’s not a coincidence when Israel’s first king and the final, eternal King have similarities.

One final thing i want to highlight. David unified the tribes of Israel into one nation. God promised David that He would gather His people together, establish a place for them, and give them rest from their enemies. (2 Samuel 7) God’s people were united into a strong nation with rest from the fighting and struggles they had known. But even this was temporary. Israel eventually fell again, kings after David did not follow his example, and the nation fell apart.

Then…Jesus. The promised Messiah, the Son of David. He did what no king on earth could do, what no sacrifice or good intentions could do. What David could not even do. He reunited God’s people. Not so much with each other, but with God Himself. Until the death of Jesus, people were separated from God because of their sin. People needed a high priest to offer a yearly, blanket sacrifice for the whole of the people, to offer atonement for one more year. But upon Jesus’s death, what happened? The veil behind which the high priest offered that yearly sacrifice, that veil that separated the presence of God from mankind, that veil tore in half, from top to bottom. i haven’t found anything definitive, but that veil was huge and it was thick. Human hands did not do that. God tore the veil. He removed that which separated us from Him. Because Jesus was the Perfect sacrifice, daily or yearly sacrifices are no longer needed. Jesus, upon His death and resurrection, reunited us with our Heavenly Father. We can now freely go before the throne of God and make our requests made known to Him. Jesus is our High Priest and the only mediator we will ever need again, and He dwells within us. Because the blood of the spotless Lamb covers us, our sin does not separate us from God. We have been redeemed.

What’s something you’ve learned or delighted in about Jesus this Christmas season? In this time, celebrate Christ and all He is to you, to the world. Because He is all of this and more. So, so much more. He is our Friend, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Shepherd, our King, and, praise God, He is the Son of David!!

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Let’s Make it Personal

Early on in my Christian walk i struggled in many ways to become a better Christian. i bought devotionals and tried to read the Bible through (still haven’t read it completely, by the way), i was desperate to grow closer with God. Only problem was i had no idea what that looked like. The idea of a personal relationship with God, of seeing actual growth or the lack of it in my life seemed outlandish. i thought that was only for the select few, the ones that were “obsessed” with God and the Bible. So i tried to find my own version of that. i think deep down my intentions were good – i wanted that relationship – but i was missing a key point: i wasn’t making it personal.

i thought the right formula of repentance, praying, study books, and church would get me where i needed to go. And when i didn’t get results, i concluded i had missed a step or just not applied myself enough. It was because of this seeking that i started attending a Bible study in January 2018. i hoped that spending an evening a week with fellow believers and intentionally studying God’s Word would give me knowledge and tools i was missing. i still remember a conversation that clearly revealed one of my misconceptions. i said something along these lines: if i wasn’t consistent with my Bible readings, God wasn’t close to me. Anyone else ever feel or still feel this way? That if you don’t do certain things (read, pray, go to church, etc.) God will not be close to you, that He’ll pull away and you’ll have to run after Him again?

i don’t remember the exact moment when the scales fell from my eyes and i saw things clearly; it was a gradual realization and happened over several months. But i got a reaction when i said that; my teacher challenged that statement and i took that home with me. It resonated within my heart and began to challenge what i believed about my walk with God. Studying the Bible changed for me. It was no longer a search for that mystical moment where i would just discover the answer and suddenly i’d be filled with love for God and knowledge about Him. It became, along with prayer, a source of communication and communion with God. It was no longer about getting Him to love me, it was about getting me to love Him.

1 John 4:10 says, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” There’s a lot to unpack in this and the surrounding verses, but for the topic of this post we’re going to be focusing on the first half. “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loves us…” Our relationship with God isn’t about getting Him to love us or accept us or welcome us; He already does, so much more than we can ever fully comprehend. Rather, it’s about how much we can love Him. How much of ourselves are we willing to give to Him, how much are we willing to surrender? Our job isn’t trying to earn His love and grace; we already have that in abundance. Our job is to seek Him with our whole heart, to desire – earnestly – to know Him personally and intimately.

And the best way to do that is to spend one-on-one time with Him. Just you and God. Take time with God outside of your church, family, friends, or spouse. Because if we want a relationship with Him instead of just knowledge of Him, we need that time. And because of the Holy Spirit living within us, we have access to deeper knowledge and understanding of God, without someone else to walk us through it. Don’t misunderstand, teachers and mentors are very important to our walk, but they should not be our source. Go straight to the Word, by yourself!

Let’s look at another verse. “As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” 1 John 2:27. God will reveal Himself to us, and He is a very capable teacher. When we open ourselves up to Him and truly dive into the Word, His Spirit will reveal the truth to us. 1 Timothy 2:3 assures us of this, God desires for everyone to be saved and to know His truth. Not just those who have achieved a certain level of devotion, but everyone.

That means you now, not the you that reads their Bible twice a day every day, not the you that always has a burning desire to pray and talk to God. We’re human, even the most devout among us struggles in their relationship with God. Don’t wait until you achieve the rank of “Devout Christian.” Because you won’t achieve that without making it personal first, without the halting steps and stumbles of a newborn baby. That’s okay, everyone was there at one point in their walk. We get past this stage by continuously returning in all our brokenness and failures, by showing up to that time with God, no matter how many times we feel like we’re starting at Square 1. Because each time you do show up, you’re taking another step. And in time, you’ll be looking back and marveling at the things God has taught you.