David’s line – what makes Jesus special?

Just some musings whilst preparing to preach on Matthew 2.

–          When the magi arrive in Jerusalem, they state that they are looking for the one born king of the Jews.  Herod’s reaction is to ask where the Messiah will come from.

–          Jesus is of the line of David but so then would be his mother Mary, Joseph, their parents, grandparents and all the people in the family tree listed in Matthew 1. Zerubbabel was of course governor after the exile but apart from him, the line of David does not appear to be a particular focal point for dissent against foreign opposition. Nor, does Herod seem to particularly see them as a threat.

Here are a couple of thoughts about this.

–          The Davidic line has been seen to fail. In fact, Jeremiah had cursed Jehoiachin’s family line, at least with reference to immediate successors (Jeremiah 22:30).  The ruling elite was now with the Sanhedrin and they seem to have had a reasonable working relationship with their roman overlords. There doesn’t seem to be an interest in rocking the boat with foreign rulers providing they also don’t overstep the mark and interfere with the Jews’ freedom to worship Yahweh,

–          Jesus raises the question “Whose son is the Messiah?” in Matthew 22:42. When the Pharisees say that he is the son of David, Jesus points them to Psalm 110:1 where David refers to the Messiah as “His Lord.”

–          When David plans to build a temple, God sends Nathan to tell him that he won’t build a house for the Lord but the Lord will establish his house.  David is promised a future son whose kingdom will last for ever. The King will be God’s son (2 Samuel 7:13-14).

I want to suggest from this that there was at least a level of implicit recognition that the Messiah couldn’t just be an ordinary descendent of David.   The Davidic line had failed and for the 2 Samuel promise to come true, something extra-ordinary had to happen.

We see this “extraordinary” thing come to pass in Jesus in a way that clearly had not happened with any of his previous human ancestors.

This is Paul’s way of putting it:

“The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is Jesus Christ our Lord.”[1]

For Jesus to be the true Messiah, he needed to be fully man and fully God.

[1] Romans 1:3-4.

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