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July 2017 Issue

The God of Your History

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Theology Matters

The Son of David, Son of Abraham

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Matthew opens his Gospel by calling Jesus “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). This is a statement about Jesus’ human lineage. This genealogy links Jesus to two of the foundational promises of the Old Testament: first, God’s promise to bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham’s offspring (Gen. 22:17–18); second, His promise to give one of David’s descendants an eternal kingdom (2 Sam. 7:12).

Matthew uses “son of David” as a title that identifies Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. Matthew 9:27 describes how two blind men followed Jesus, calling to Him “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” On another occasion, when Jesus healed a demon possessed man who was blind and mute, the astonished crowd asked, “Could this be the Son of David?” (Matt. 12:22–23). At the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, which inaugurated Jesus’ final week, the welcoming crowd shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matt. 21:9). Even a Canaanite woman who lived in the region of Tyre and Sidon recognized that this title belonged to Jesus (Matt. 15:22).

Son of David was a messianic title. Those who used it to refer to Jesus were identifying Him as David’s promised descendant. When David set out to build a temple for the Lord, the Lord promised: “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom” (2 Sam. 7:12). The fact that this was to take place after David’s death indicates that someone other than Solomon was in view.

As the Son of Abraham, Jesus brings the blessing of eternal life to all nations. Anyone who trusts in Him will be forgiven. As the Son of David, Jesus is Israel’s promised Messiah and King. He will one day sit on David’s throne and reign in Jerusalem. His rule will extend throughout the entire earth and will never end (Isa. 9:7; Rev. 11:15).

The juxtaposition of these two designations in Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that God keeps His promises. All that God has said He will do will come to pass. Just as the past is a record of God’s faithfulness, the future offers the prospect of faithfulness yet to be experienced. The God of Abraham and David does not make idle promises. He always keeps His word!

Author - John Koessler

By John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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