From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty, Day Two
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
The Lord says to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
"The Lord said to my Lord:
'Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.'"
"David himself calls him ‘Lord.' How then can he be his son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight. Mark 12:35-37
Praise God: Who reigns over every earthly power.
Offer Thanks: For Christ's rule in your life and in the world.
Confess: The sins you feel most powerless against.
Ask God: To rule over any and every area of your life.
Every time I watch a presidential debate, I am struck by how much we expect of a would-be president. We want to know what each candidate plans to do to resolve global warming, terrorism, racism, poverty, educational deficiencies, energy shortages, the national debt, environmental problems — you name it. I recall one town hall debate in which a man in a wheelchair approached the platform to ask the candidates what they planned to do to help him with his particular disability. In every case, the candidates answered confidently, assuring their listeners that they were up to the challenge of resolving all these problems, even the one posed by the man in the wheelchair. It seemed to me that the audience had conspired with the candidates to inflate the presidency into an impossible job. I thought of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, who turned out to be not a real wizard but merely a mild-mannered man performing tricks behind a curtain. Perhaps this kind of political inflation is rooted in a deeply held desire for a leader so powerful and wise that he or she is able to solve our intractable problems. In Israel's case, this desire expressed itself in the longing for a Messiah, a descendant of the great King David, who would drive out Israel's persistent enemies and restore the nation to its former glory. When people cried out to Jesus as the "Son of David," they were expressing their faith that he was this long-promised Messiah.
But what the people didn't understand was that they needed not just another David but someone far greater. They dreamed of a military leader who would drive out their Roman overlords, not realizing they needed a Savior who would drive out their sins. They longed for political power to restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory, never reflecting on the fact that Israel, even at its peak, had never been more than a very small nation, which had flourished as a united nation for only about a hundred and twenty years — equivalent to something like a millisecond in the scope of world history.
Nor did the people of Jesus' day understand that David's Son would exceed David in all things. He would inaugurate a kingdom that extended throughout the world and one in which every trace of sickness and death would eventually be driven out, a kingdom in which
the lion and the lamb, the poor and the rich, the great and the small would lie down together perfectly and forever at peace.
Today as you read the headlines or watch the nightly news, remember that it is important to pray for our nation and our political leaders. We should regularly ask God for wise and humble leadership, for men and women who hunger for justice and who are eager to pursue peace.
But remember too that we need more than good leadership. We need our sins forgiven, our relationships healed, our sicknesses overcome, our selfishness defeated. We need Jesus, the only King who is able to drive out our worst enemies and bring us together from every tribe and tongue and nation into a kingdom that will endure forever.
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.