Sunday, December 13, 2015

In the Picture: King David

King David
Gerard van Honthorst

Read: Luke 2.4
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 

Maybe it seems a bit like cheating to include King David in this series on characters in the Christmas story, but in fact he is absolutely central to it, despite having lived around 1000 years before Christ.

The angels tell the shepherds that Jesus is “born of David’s line”. The genealogies of Jesus (Matthew 1 & Luke 4) trace his descent from David, and he is born in David’s birthplace of Bethlehem.

The Gospel writers want us to make the link between this great king, anointed by Samuel when just a young shepherd boy (1 Samuel 16) and Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ. (Messiah and Christ are Hebrew and Greek words meaning “anointed”. Just as David brought peace and prosperity, so Jesus will usher in a new age too, though in a very different way. Unlike David he will not use military force, and will not amass great wealth, but his kingship will be even greater than David’s. He will be the leader the people of Israel have longed for ever since the time of David, a leader not just for Israel, but for the whole world.

In Gerard van Honthorst’s picture, David is portrayed looking to God for inspiration, not only for his music, but also for his kingship. This is the man who had trusted God to help him when he was still a boy, as he faced the giant, Goliath. Jesus too, would depend on his Father throughout his ministry.
  • How aware are you of your family tree? How have your ancestors’ lives shaped yours?
  • What do you think are the most important characteristics of a great leader? How did Jesus lead people?

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