Jesus, the Son of David

Each of us will have opportunities this week to submit to the loving rule of the Son of David. And as we do that, we look forward to the day when His enemies are put under His feet, and He reigns from sea to sea with no opposition.

Anson Kroeker on December 16, 2018
Jesus, the Son of David
December 16, 2018

Jesus, the Son of David

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Passage: Acts 2:22-36
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We are halfway through December already. And we are most of the way through this section of our series. I’m not sure how that happened! But here we are.

It’s been such a joy to preach on Christ and His coming during this time of the year. I’m so glad our series lined up this way. And so here we are today, hearing about Jesus as the Son of David.

We first considered the story of David back on October 28. And we saw there how the most important event in David’s life happened after most of the stories we tend to tell. After he was anointed by Samuel, after he killed Goliath, after all of the years of running away from Saul, and after he finally became king over all Israel.

After all of this, when he was finally secure and had rest from all his enemies, God made a covenant with him, and said to him that “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… And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12,16). 

We don’t have time to go over it all again, but back in October we dug into these words and traced out the different lines in the story and saw how in this promise, God was saying that one of David’s offspring was going to be king of the whole world, who bring blessing to the nations as he ruled them with justice and equity.

And connected with this, we saw how the Son of David is spoken of as the fulfillment of each of God’s previous covenants.  The whole storyline of the Bible converges and come together in this one promised person, the Offspring or Son of David.

And so the Son of David is the main character of the whole story of the Bible. He is the one the whole story had been rushing towards.

And so, after God made this promise, the people waited. Solomon let them down, and so did every other king that came afterwards. And as the centuries slipped by and the people lost their kingdom and were thrown into exile, all of their hopes were focused on the coming Son of David.

This is the hope we hear of in well-known prophecies like Isaiah 9:6-7: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”

It’s because of this hope, this longing, that we have the word Messiah. “Messiah” in Hebrew, or “Christ” in Greek, means “anointed one.” In other words, a king—because kings were anointed when they became king. But through these promises and prophecies, the phrase “anointed one” or “the Lord’s anointed” came to be strongly connected with the promise of the Son of David, and so it took on this special meaning of saviour, deliverer, promised one.

And so for centuries they waited for the Christ to come.


The Son of David in the Gospels

And then it happened. One day, literally out of the blue, Gabriel came to Mary, and greeted her, and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end’” (Luke 1:30–33). 

Oh, what precious words. Gabriel is directly quoting the words from the covenant with David, and saying that Mary’s baby will be that promised, long-awaited Son.

And then when Zechariah’s tongue was loosed after John was born, what did he say? 

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68–69). 

This is why the angel referred to Joseph as “Joseph, son of David” (Matthew 1:20). It’s why the shepherds were told that “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). 

And then the magi from the east came and worship Him with gifts, fulfilling the words of Psalm 72:10 which call all the nations to come and bring tribute to the Son of David.

And so, with all of this in mind, we shouldn’t be surprised to read through the gospels and see Jesus referred to as “Son of David” over and over again.

“And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David’” (Matthew 9:27). 

“And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David’” (Matthew 15:22). A Gentile woman saying that!

“And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’” (Matthew 20:30). 

Notice how it’s the needy and the desperate calling out to Jesus by this title? Psalm 72:4 talks about the Son of David [defending] the cause of the poor of the people, [giving] deliverance to the children of the needy, and [crushing] the oppressor.” And by the way, that’s where the words to the song “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” come from.

All of this also explains why people were constantly expecting Jesus to destroy the Romans. After all, Psalm 72 says that He will “crush the oppressor” (Psalm 72:4)! And there was no bigger oppressor than Rome.

So this is likely why, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowds shouted “Hosanna [which means “Save us!”] to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9). 

Jesus was the Son of David, and here He was, riding into the capitol city of His kingdom. Look out, Romans.

But then Jesus shattered all their expectations. Because by the end of the week, those Romans had arrested Him and beaten Him and then killed Him in the most degrading, shameful way imaginable.


Peter’s Sermon

So why does all of this mean? Was Jesus really the Son of David? How was this possible when He was nowhere to be seen and the Romans still had free reign in Jerusalem?

The answer to those questions comes from the Apostle Peter in his sermon to the Jewish crowds on the day of Pentecost, which we read from earlier.

This was the day that the risen and exalted Jesus poured our His Holy Spirit upon His followers in Jerusalem. And they started speaking about Jesus in all these other languages. And this drew a crowd. So Peter got up and preached a sermon which masterfully demonstrated that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of the father were both foretold in the promises about the son of David.

In other words, what had happened to Jesus was exactly what the Scriptures had always said would happen to the Son of David.

The Resurrection
So, first, let’s listen in as Peter speaks about the resurrection of Jesus in verse 25. He does this by quoting from from Psalm 16, which was written by David. And there, David said this: “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption” (Acts 2:27). 

He’s talking there about dying. And so when he says “corruption,” he’s talking about there is the corruption of death. The decomposition of our bodies in the grave.

And in the flow of the Psalm, it would be easy to think that when David said “Holy One,” he was talking about himself. In fact, that's probably how most people took it in Peter’s day. David was saying that God won’t let him die and decompose.

But then listen to what Peter says in verse 29: “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29). 

In other words, this Psalm can’t be talking about David, because David did die, and he was buried, and he stayed there. In other words, his body saw “corruption.”

So who is this “Holy One” David writes about? Who is this person who didn’t see the corruption of death? Verse 30:

“Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:30–32). 

David knew God’s promise, and more than that, David was a prophet. So when he wrote that “you will not… let your Holy One see corruption,” he was talking about His own offspring, the Messiah, who would not see corruption, because God was going to raise Him up from the dead and make Him reign as king forever, just like He promised.

And Peter says, this is exactly what happened to Jesus. God raised Him from the dead—we’re all witnesses of this. That means He is the promised Son of David.

The Ascension
But there’s still another big question. “If Jesus is the king, the Son of David, then where is He now? And why are the Romans still around?”

This would have been a tough one for many people. Their whole lives, they had expected the Christ to be like His father David: “a king on a throne full of power with a sword in his fist,” like Andrew Peterson sang for us last Monday. And so now they’re trying to understand that He is the Son of David, but he left and went back to heaven.

And so once again Peter goes back to a Psalm that David wrote to show us that the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God in heaven was a part of the plan all along.

That’s what Peter’s doing in verses 34-35. He’s quoting Psalm 110 verse 1: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Acts 2:34–35). 

This is kind of hard for us to understand in English, but in the original Hebrew, there’s two different words here for “Lord.” The first “Lord” is Yahweh. This is God’s personal name. And the second time we see the word “Lord,” it’s from Adonai. Which is more of a title, like master, which could be used for God or other people.

So in Hebrew it would sound like this: “Yahweh said to my Adonai, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’”

And most people in Peter’s day understood that “Adonai,” this second Lord, is the Messiah. The Son of David. So in other words, This verse is saying that when the Messiah comes, there is going to be a time of waiting before He has total victory over all of His enemies. He’s not going to storm in and take out all of His enemies all at once. 

And so in that time, while He waits for them to be placed under your feet, God the Father invites Him to sit at His right hand.

And Peter says, this is exactly what has happened. Verse 33: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:33–36). 

Jesus is the Son of David, Lord and Christ, and is exactly where the Scriptures say we should expect Him to be: enthroned at God’s right hand, waiting to have total victory over His enemies.


King of the World

I hope you understand that Jesus being enthroned at God’s right hand in heaven doesn’t make Him any less of a king than if He were enthroned in Jerusalem. God’s right hand is a place of privilege and power. From that place, Jesus reigns over everything. Like the song we sang last week says, “Enthroned at God’s right hand, the world at His command.” Or just like Jesus said before He ascended to Heaven: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). 

And from there He rules, and He waits until the time when He will return to earth and stand in complete victory over all His enemies.

And friends, that’s where Jesus has been for the past 2,000 years, and is right at this very moment. Reigning. And waiting.

And I hope you know why He’s waiting. It’s not because His enemies are too strong for Him. He could put all His enemies under His feet right now. Revelation 19 tells us that when He finally arises to crush all opposition, no-one will be able to stand before Him.

But Jesus waits, because He wants to do more than just crush all His enemies. He wants to save some of them.

And so He’s commissioned His church to go to all nations as His ambassadors, and offer them this peace treaty that we call the gospel. And as people accept those terms of peace, they become a part of the empire of King Jesus.

And it is only when we’ve finished this mission of bringing the good news to all nations that the end will finally come (Matt. 24:14).

And what that means is that we have a job to do. We have a mission to fulfill on behalf of our king.


Thinking like Subjects of the King

But why is it that it seems so hard to really get this? Why is it that we don’t often really live like there’s a king waiting for us to finish our job before He returns?

I wonder if it’s because we don’t really understand what it means for Jesus to be our king.

What I’m getting at is that none of us have ever lived under the rule of any other king. We’ve never had someone over us who has absolute power. And in fact, we’ve been trained to think that this kind of power is a bad thing. Dictators, people with absolute authority, are bad things.

And so we tend to think about King Jesus the same way as we think about Queen Elizabeth. Oh, sure, she’s our queen, but she doesn’t actually have any real power.

But friends, this is not what the kingship of Jesus is like. Jesus is a real king with real authority.

Jesus is a dictator. He is good and loving dictator, with absolute power. Just listen to these words He said before returning to heaven: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18–20).

Can you imagine anybody else saying those words? Some political leader saying, “I have all authority in the universe. So go, my followers. Go, teach people all around the world to do everything I’ve told you to do.” We’d think that person is delusional and dangerous.

But Jesus says these words without blushing. He has the imperial power to command and send as He pleases. He is a real king.

I used to think Herod was being silly when he got all paranoid about the new king who had been born. I kind of thought, “Don’t worry Herod, Jesus isn’t that kind of a king.” Actually, He is. Herod probably understood the kingship of Jesus better than any of us, and he was right to fear it.

The kingship of Jesus is one of main reasons early Christians were persecuted. Because they proclaimed that “Jesus is Lord.” And this was a direct hit on the Roman Empire which proclaimed that “Caesar is Lord.”

And when the Romans tried to make the early Christians say that “Caesar is Lord,” the Christians didn’t say “Well, sure I can say that, because we all know that Jesus isn’t Lord in the same way that Caesar is Lord. Jesus is just, you know, Lord of my heart.”

No, that’s not what happened. The early Christians knew that if Jesus is Lord, then Caesar is not Lord. And so they refused to say it, and many of them were killed as a result.

Friends, Jesus is king, and His kingdom is real. The kingdom of God isn’t just some club that we join. When Paul said that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), he really meant it. We are real citizens of a real kingdom with a real king who has absolute authority over our lives. 

And so we don’t relate to the world around us the way that everybody else does.

That’s what I was pointing to a couple of weeks ago when I talked about immigration. Because when we hear that word, “immigration,” our first instinct shouldn’t be to just think about that issue like a citizen of Canada. Our first instinct should be to think about that issue, and every other issue, as a citizen of the kingdom of Jesus. And as we do that, we’ll find that some of the things that are important to us as Canadians might not be that important to King Jesus. And vice versa.

But let’s be honest: thinking like a subject of King Jesus first and foremost is hard. It’s easy to just think like a Canadian who happens to attend church on the weekend. It’s hard to think like a fully-orbed citizen of the kingdom of God.

But it’s always been this way. Which is why Paul had to tell the Colossians, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2).

Paul understood that thinking like a subject of King Jesus doesn’t happen by itself. We have to intentionally do this. We have to intentionally set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

That means we need to be careful of what we think about. We need to be careful of the gravitational pull of things that tug our minds down to earth. We need to be careful about money and politics and social media and television and entertainment and sports and things that don’t ultimately matter. We need to be deliberate about setting our minds on things above. 

And this is just one more reason why regularly reading or listening to God’s word, and then thinking seriously about it, should be a non-negotiable part of your life.


Submitting to the King’s Authority

Now we’re almost done here. But I have one more stop. One more question to ask. And the question is this: How does King Jesus, the Son of David, exercise His authority in our life? What does this actually look like?

One answer is that we read His word, the Bible, and we obey it. And that’s a good answer. That’s 100% true. But that’s not the full picture.

Because King Jesus has a representative on earth. And it’s called the church. Jesus exercises His authority on earth through the church.

And one of the clearest ways we see this in the New Testament is the area of church discipline. When someone claims to follow Jesus but refuses to obey Him, the local church is to take decisive action to set the record straight.

Listen to these words from Jesus in Matthew chapter 18:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:15–20). 

Do you see what Jesus is saying? As Christians, when it comes to issues like sin, we should listen to our church. And if we refuse to do that, our church has the authority to say, “This person is not acting like a follower of Jesus, and we are going to treat them accordingly.”

And it’s in this context that Jesus talks about binding and loosing, and how what we do on earth mirrors what is happening in heaven, and that when two are three are gathered He is there, exercising His authority among us.

In other words, He’s not talking about being there for our prayer meeting. He’s talking about being there in authority when His church practices church discipline.

Listen to how Paul fleshed this out with a man in the Corinthian church who was in a relationship with father’s wife. Paul told the church, “When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:4–5). 

He’s talking there about putting the man outside of the church, which meant that he was back in the kingdom of Satan. And there’s so much there we can talk about, but the big idea here is that the assembled church exercises the authority of the Lord Jesus, and Jesus is there exercising His power through them.

This is one of the reasons why church membership is so important. Because when we become a member of a church, we are saying, “I’m not just going to slip out the back door and run away to another church. I’m not just going to be a free agent. I commit to submit to the authority of this assembly.”

Formally joining a church is one of the most practical ways that we actually submit to the authority of our real King Jesus.


Conclusion

So, there’s a lot there, isn’t there? Jesus is the son of David. He’s the king. He was raised from the dead and seated at the Father’s right hand, just like the Scriptures promised.

And the amazing good news is that when He was on the cross, this king died to pay for our very treason against Him. And He offers us a royal pardon when we lay down our weapons and receive His forgiveness.

If you have never done that before, please don’t leave without doing that.

If you have bowed your knees to King Jesus, then the summons for us is to really live like citizens of His kingdom. To set our minds on His throne room. To obey His word. And to submit to His authority.

So, what does that look like for you this week? Does it look like spending more time with God’s word, instead of some other distraction? Does it look like finally obeying Jesus on some issue you’ve been holding out on? Does it look like sharing the gospel with someone else? Does it look like talking to me about coming to the next membership seminar we’re going to be doing in the new year?

Each of us has opportunities this week to submit to the loving rule of the Son of David. And as we do that, we look forward to the day when His enemies are put under His feet, and He reigns from sea to sea with no opposition. That’s what we get to celebrate now in song.


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