Saturday, December 15, 2018

Son of David

Of course Jesus is called Son of David throughout the Gospels, but here, Joseph is called the Son of David:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The angel has given Joseph, who is the natural son of David along the kingly line, the authority of the son of David. He has given him permission to exert his authority as son of David in the following ways:

1. He has the authority to take Mary as his wife.
2. He has the authority to name the child "Jesus."

First, what are the powers of the office of king? In Zechariah 9:9, we find that a king is just and endowed with salvation. According to Zephaniah 3:15, the king is a wise judge and protector. He has mercy on his subjects. He always does the right thing by his people.  Now, what is Joseph supposed to do to Mary, according to the law? When we read Deuteronomy 22, we discover that his options are two: he can divorce her (put her away quietly) or he can have her stoned. Obviously, he was in the process of choosing the former when the angel came to him.

Now, according to Christ there is a righteous spirit of the law, which supersedes the legal, outward keeping of the law.  So, two examples from Matthew 12: Jesus shows that even though it is technically unlawful to do work on the sabbath--work that included eating heads of grain--Jesus reminds them that David--the king--broke the technical law, as well, by eating consecrated bread that was meant for only priests. David's spirit of the law superseded the technical law. Next, Jesus heals a man's hand on the sabbath. This is technically against the law, but Jesus asks which one of them would not rescue a sheep that had fallen into a pit on the sabbath? No one, because sheep are valuable, and a man is more valuable than a sheep.

A third example from Mark 10:

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Yes, it is technically legal to divorce your wife, he tells us, but the righteous and wise thing to do is to stay married. Why? Because the king is concerned with the salvation of his people, and keeping families together provides better chances of salvation for the individuals (provided at least one of the individuals in question has a healthy fear of God and an abiding faith in Jesus Christ).  So, Joseph does exactly this. He follows the angels command and with his authority as the son of David, he chooses neither to divorce her, nor to stone her, but to marry her.

Finally, with the authority of the son of David, Joseph names his son Jesus, which means, "he saves." Salvation of his subjects was the primary concern of a just king, and Joseph fulfills his kingly role in the kingly line of David by naming the son of God appropriately and as commanded.

Make Christ your king. He has always been concerned with your salvation, from the foundation of the world, and his wise justice will conspire to keep you safe in his hands, so that not one hair on your head is harmed by God's wrath. He has providentially put you in the best possible situation for your good, and has given you situations to foster your salvation and bring you closer to him. Live in the kingdom of Christ. Abide in him. He is your stronghold and and your sure defense. Trust in him. He will not forsake you. He is your king.