David was Israel’s greatest king, a man whom the Bible describes as having the very heart of God. So it may not be surprising that the New Testament both begins and ends with references to Jesus as the Son or Offspring of David. He is the One who fulfilled the promise of a coming King so beloved by God that his throne will endure forever.
Like David, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the city of David). And like David, who established his kingdom by overcoming Israel’s enemies and uniting God’s people, Jesus would establish His kingdom by defeating the principalities and powers, making a way for us to become part of it as we confess our faith in Him. When you pray to Jesus as the Son of David, you are praying to the long-awaited King, human by virtue of His descent from David and divine by virtue of being God’s only Son.
1 Chronicles 17:7-14 – Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a name like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. Also I will subdue all your enemies. Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house. And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”’”
Luke 1:26-33 – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Jesus, Son of David, take up Your throne! Drive out Your enemies and be our Protector. Then rule with Your wisdom and grace. Scatter the proud and raise up the lowly. Establish Your kingdom now and forever. Amen.
The New Testament tells a story that cannot be adequately understood without reference to the Old Testament. Though composed of many books written at different times by different authors, much of the Bible is a continuing narrative that tells the story of salvation in ever-deepening detail. One of the ways it does this is by encapsulating the story or part of the story in the life of a particular person in the Bible whose shadow is then cast forward across the remaining pages of the Bible.
David is certainly one of these characters for in many ways his life prefigures the life of Christ. Like Christ, David conquered against incredible odds. Like Christ, he was beloved of God. And like Christ, he was a warrior king who defeated God’s enemies. David began as a shepherd boy signifying Jesus’ coming role as the Good Shepherd who would lay down His life for His sheep.
The gospels refer to Jesus as the “Son of David” fifteen times, nine of these in the Gospel of Matthew. Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus believed that the Messiah would be a direct descendant of the great King David, whom God described “as a man after my own heart.” More than once in the gospels people in need of healing cried out to Jesus as the “Son of David,” thus confessing their faith in Him as the Messiah. The New Testament also refers to Jesus was the “Root and Offspring of David,” the “descendant” or “seed” of David, and the one who holds the “key of David.” Along with acknowledging Jesus as the rightful heir to David’s throne, the title “Son of David” also locates Jesus within a human genealogy, that of Abraham and David.