From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty, Day Three
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
Praying the Name
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored. Matthew 9:27-30
Reflect On: Matthew 9:27-30.
Praise God: Whose power is unlimited.
Offer Thanks: That Christ has called you into his kingdom.
Confess: Any unbelief in Jesus' power and desire to help you.
Ask God: To strengthen your faith in the Son of David.
You've probably heard of the term "gerrymandering," named after Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry, who in 1812 redrew an electoral district in order to enhance his party's political power. As it happened, the district was redrawn in the shape of a salamander — hence the name. One of the most dramatic examples of this tactic took place a while ago in Texas where Democrats accused Republicans of gerrymandering the congressional map. Fifty-one Democratic congressmen holed up in a hotel in Oklahoma, across the border from Texas, in order to avoid debating and voting on a Republican-led bill that they said would turn the Lone Star State into a Republican monopoly.
At least from a distance, this struggle seemed comical, with one renegade congresswoman being forcibly escorted back to the state capitol in Austin, while the remaining "filthy fifty," as they were dubbed, eluded capture. Power grabs and land grabs, even in democratic countries, are commonplace. But this is not how Jesus, the Son of David, goes about extending and strengthening his kingdom.
More than once the Gospels link the title "Son of David" to the healing miracles of Jesus. In one instance, two blind men call out to Jesus as the Son of David. In another, it's the blind Bartimaeus, and in still another, it's a Canaanite woman who begs Jesus as the "Son of David" to cure her demon-possessed daughter. In each case these people confess two things: both their need and their faith. By addressing Jesus as the "Son of David" they are expressing their faith that he is the Messiah who can provide the healing or deliverance they desire. And none of them is disappointed because Jesus confirms their faith by doing as they ask. Because they believe in him, they both experience and display evidence of the new kingdom that is coming.
How can we experience the power of the "Son of David" at work in our own lives? Like the two blind men we need to cry out to Jesus, expressing both our faith in him and our desire to experience his healing, delivering power. As we do, we must seek first his kingdom and not our own. One way to do this is to follow the advice of A. B. Simpson, who said: "You can take Christ as the King of your life by giving Him your difficulties and adversaries to overcome, and permitting Him to subdue all His enemies and yours and reign as Lord of all. Everything that comes up in your life is but another opportunity of giving him a larger and richer crown."1 Simpson's words made me wonder about my own difficulties. What things in my life did Christ want to subdue? As I prayed I began to think about the deep-seated, persistent anxiety I often experience with regard to my children. Lately these worries have felt like a constant pressure, making me irritable and impatient toward them. I began by asking the Lord's forgiveness for all my anxious efforts to control my children, asking him to reshape this area of my life with his wisdom, peace, and power. It's a prayer I am still praying, expressing my faith in Jesus and asking him to extend his reign and rule over my family as a way of extending his kingdom in and through us.
What difficulties do you face? What would happen if you asked for the grace to see every difficulty as an opportunity, as Simpson says, for giving Jesus, the Son of David, a larger and richer crown, extending his rule in, over, and around you? Start today by asking Jesus to be the King over your loneliness, your sorrow, your hurts, and your weaknesses. Let God's Spirit uncover areas in your life that are not yet fully under Christ's rule. Expose each one to him in prayer, expressing your faith that he is indeed the "Son of David," the Lord who is able to heal and deliver you, the King who wants to extend the boundaries of his kingdom by virtue of what he is doing in you.
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.