Matthew 1:1; 9:27-31 and 22:41-46 An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham…
…As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, ‘See that no one knows of this.’ But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district…
…Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’”?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Reflection As we come to the end of our series about David, we turn to Matthew’s Gospel as an example of how these traditions had developed by the time of Jesus.
In the genealogy (1:1, 6, 17, 20) the significance of David is evident and Jesus’ biological descent from David, through Joseph, is stated. His power to bring sight to the blind is explicitly linked to Jesus being perceived by people as ‘Son of David’ (9:27), the messianic figure in whom hopes for salvation from the rule of Rome and a new kingdom of wholeness, justice and peace, rested.
In 22:41-46 Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees about whom the Messiah might be and the relationship between this figure and David is shown to be less straightforward than suggested! Jesus’ question quotes Psalm 110:1 and presumes a shared knowledge of 2 Samuel 23:2 – and an uncritical acceptance of both verses being actual words of David. The Pharisees were silenced and the complexities associated with unpacking all these issues silence me too.
Faith in Jesus as Son of David and Messiah is not an issue that can be established undeniably by reference to scripture or tradition. We grapple with the scriptures, listening to the different voices of God’s people as they sought to understand God’s unfolding purposes. We receive the theological traditions of our Jewish and Christian forebears, trying to find language that makes sense of these ideas in our day and age.
In Jesus, Son of David, I glimpse what a flawed individual like me might become, through God’s grace; how this broken world might be transformed into God’s kingdom; how God challenges us to rethink our models and structures as we live in the present with our eyes on the future; and I recognize an eternal king, the assurance of God’s covenant love towards all creation.
Prayer Using words from James Montgomery’s paraphrase of Psalm 72 (Rejoice & Sing 127)
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, great David’s greater Son! Hail, in the time appointed, his reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free, to take away transgression, and rule in equity.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
The Revd Dr Janet E Tollington A retired minister and member of Downing Place URC in Cambridge