From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty, Day One
David was Israel's greatest king, a man whom the Bible describes as having the very heart of God. So it may not be surprising that the New Testament both begins and ends with references to Jesus as the Son or Offspring of David. He is the One who fulfilled the promise of a coming King so beloved by God that his throne will endure forever. Like David, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the city of David). And like David, who established his kingdom by overcoming Israel's enemies and uniting God's people, Jesus would establish his kingdom by defeating the principalities and powers, making a way for us to become part of it as we confess our faith in him. When you pray to Jesus as the Son of David, you are praying to the long-awaited King, human by virtue of his descent from David and divine by virtue of being God's only Son.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. Luke 1:32-33
His Name Revealed
"Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock, to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies.
" ‘I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you: When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' " 1 Chronicles 17:7-14
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:26-33
Jesus, Son of David, take up your throne! Drive out your enemies and be our protector. Then rule with your wisdom and grace. Scatter the proud and raise up the lowly. Establish your kingdom now and forever. Amen.
Understanding the Name
The New Testament tells a story that cannot be adequately understood without reference to the Old Testament. Though composed of many books written at different times by different authors, much of the Bible is a continuing narrative that tells the story of salvation in ever-deepening detail. One of the ways it does this is by encapsulating the story or part of the story in the life of a particular person in the Bible whose shadow is then cast forward across the remaining pages of the Bible.
David is certainly one of these characters for in many ways his life prefigures the life of Christ. Like Christ, David conquered against incredible odds. Like Christ, he was beloved of God. And like Christ, he was a warrior king who defeated God's enemies. David began as a shepherd boy signifying Jesus' coming role as the Good Shepherd who would lay down his life for his sheep.
The Gospels refer to Jesus as the "Son of David" or Huios Dauid (hui-OS da-WEED) fifteen times, nine of these in the Gospel of Matthew.
Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus believed that the Messiah would be a direct descendant of the great King David, whom God described "as a man after my own heart." More than once in the Gospels people in need of healing cried out to Jesus as the "Son of David," thus confessing their faith in him as the Messiah. The New Testament also refers to Jesus as the "Root and Offspring of David," the "descendant" or "seed" of David, and the one who holds the "key of David."
Along with acknowledging Jesus as the rightful heir to David's throne, the title "Son of David" also locates Jesus within a human genealogy, that of Abraham and David.
Studying the Name
- Do you think the prophecy recounted in 1 Chronicles was fulfilled in the life of David's son Solomon? Why or why not? (See 1 Kings 10:26-11:13.)
- Compare the lives of Jesus and David. What similarities do you see? What differences?
- Consider how different life might be if you lived under a completely corrupt or incompetent government. Now think of how different life might be if you lived in a country that was perfectly governed, ruled by a leader who was all-powerful, allwise, and all-loving. Describe the differences.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.