From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty, Day Four
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
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:8-10
Reflect On: 2 Timothy 2:8-10.
Praise God: For opening your eyes and ears to his mercy.
Offer Thanks: Because Christ wants to spread his kingdom through you.
Confess: Any reluctance to share your faith with others.
Ask God: To give you opportunities to tell others about how Christ has loved you.
Successful publishers understand how crucial it is to distinguish between "needs" and "felt needs." If a commercial publisher were to form its list simply by asking what people need to read rather than what people want to read, it wouldn't stay in business for long. Perhaps that's why Christian publishers rarely introduce new books on the topic of missions and evangelism. They know that most readers don't feel the need for such books even though it might be good if they did. And when I say most readers, I am including myself. In fact I confess to having a slight aversion to the word "evangelism" because it reminds me of something I should be doing but would rather not. But why do I find evangelism so difficult?
Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Alban's Cathedral in England, helped me answer that question when he wrote:
Before we can hear the Word of God, we need God himself to open our ears to do so. Our natural state is not one of readiness to hear his message; rather, it is the opposite. . . . The Prophets were in anguish over the people's spiritual deafness. Jesus wept for Jerusalem. . . . It is still the case that a Christian priest or minister, or any Christian who attempts to share the gospel, is likely to hit the same barrier and share something of the same agony, the agony of God desperately trying to get through to his estranged children.
However we understand the doctrine of the Fall, a large part of its meaning is that we are born spiritually autistic — instinctively selfcentred and self-enclosed. In our natural state it is hard for God to break through to us, and for us to break through to him.
No wonder I find it difficult to share my faith! Only grace can forge an opening for the gospel, leaving people free to resist that grace if they choose. But while I, like most people, dislike encountering resistance, I realize that my aversion to evangelism goes far deeper. My biggest problem is not that I hate conflict but that I lack love. Because if I loved people more, I would share more of God's anguish for the lost. Without love's propelling force, I have neither the energy nor the courage to share my faith, despite the fact that I, like all believers, am called to spread the good news of the kingdom.
I want God to change my heart, to help me break out of my own self-centeredness so that I can experience two things — more anguish and more love for his estranged children. Pray with me today to the One who is called the "Son of David," remembering that God described David as "a man after my own heart." Ask Jesus to give you his heart for those who are still far from him. Think especially of the men, women, and children in your own circle of influence. Ask God to break through their blindness and their deafness so that they can begin to perceive his goodness and his love.
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.