Jesus, the Son of David

In the genealogy of Jesus which both Matthew and Luke record, Jesus was identified as the son of David. In His sojourn among men, He was often identified that way. Two blind beggars in Capernaum (Matthew 9:27) so spoke of Him and multitudes so ascribed Him in His triumphant march into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9). In the temple, children called Him “the son of David” (Matthew 21:15). A blind beggar in Jericho so addressed Him, asking Him to restore his sight (Luke 18:38); a persistent Gentile woman called Him “thou son of David” when she sought healing for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). When Jesus asked some Pharisee teachers who they thought the Christ was the son of, unanimously they responded, “The son of David” (Matthew 22:41-42). While some of the prophesies concerning Christ baffled them — they pondered how the Messiah could be the triumphant King He was predicted to be, and at the same time be rejected and despised of men. They agreed on one thing: the Christ or Messiah was to descend from David. The reason for this common belief was that God had promised David He would always have a Son who ruled over Israel (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 9:6-7).

Thus, when either Peter or Paul preached about Jesus in their sermons it was not surprising that they would both make mention of David. In Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2) and Paul’s sermon in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13) at least four different prophesies are cited which combine David and Jesus. Peter’s sermon includes at least two (Psalm16:8-11; 110:1). In Paul’s sermon, he makes at least three references to the connection between the two. Both apostles quote Psalm 16, a prophesy which said, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption”. Both stressed that although the prophecy was written in the first person as though David wrote of himself (his body would not see corruption), both show the prophecy actually was a reference to David’s descendent, the Messiah. His body would not see corruption; He would be raised from the dead just three days after He was crucified. To show that David did not speak of himself, Peter reminded his audience that David had died 1,000 years before, yet David’s tomb was still intact and his body still in it. Paul made the same point in Acts 13 that David saw corruption so the prophecy could not refer to him.

Paul referred to another psalm written by David: “Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7). Then the apostle showed that it was not of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem of which David spoke. Rather, it was of His resurrection. In Romans 1:4 the apostle wrote more extensively of that than did the Psalms. He said that Jesus was of the seed of David according to the flesh but “he was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Peter quoted a second prophecy from David in Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make all thy enemies the footstool of thy feet”. As Peter was concluding his Pentecost sermon he said, “For David ascended not into the heavens but he saith himself, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand till I make all thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:34-36).

One final prophecy relating to David and Jesus was quoted by Paul and was taken from Isaiah 55:3 which Paul quotes in Acts 13:24. The passage reads,  “And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return unto corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, I will give you holy and sure blessings of David”. We are thankful that Paul, by the Spirit, told us what this passage meant. It is a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who because He was raised from the dead, is able to fulfill all the blessings man finds in Jesus Christ — the son of David and the Son of God.

Jim McDonald

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