Each morning, our family reads the Bible together for about 30 minutes while we drink our coffee and eat breakfast. This week, leading up to our Christmas celebration, we have been reading a few selections from the Old Testament, working to understand together how God planned to bring the Messiah to the earth.
This morning, we took some time to think about the situation in Israel as Jesus arrived into the world.
First, we saw that Herod was the king in Israel, although underneath the authority and power of the Roman empire.
The emperor of Rome at this time was Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He infamously and routinely referred to himself as the son of a god, as Julius Caesar, his adopted father, referred to himself as “divine”, meaning that he was not just human but a god.
I wanted to note this with my kids primarily to help them understand that the world, not altogether unlike aspects of our world today today, claimed a sovereign status, if not also going so far as to consider themselves a deity, a god.
So with this in mind this morning, one of the scriptures that we read was Psalm 110. For reference, here is that Psalm:
The LORD says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek. ”
The Lord is at your right hand;Psalm 110
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.
This was a Psalm written by David, but what does this have to do with Christmas?
In this Psalm, we can see that David says, “the Lord says to my lord”. By this, he is saying that the Lord, meaning God, makes a declaration to “my lord”, meaning someone who is greater than David, the king of Israel.
The most interesting part is what the Lord says. He says that this person is to sit at God’s right hand until he makes his enemies a footstool for his feet. God is putting this person in charge as the King over all things, over all of heaven and earth! God will even put all things in order such that the enemies of this person underneath him and he will rule them.
If we skip forward, we then see that the book of Matthew shows how Jesus fulfills this prophecy as being a royal son of David from a human perspective. Here are the first 6 verses of Matthew 1:
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,Matthew 1:1-6
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
We can see that Matthew is placing an emphasis on the fact that Jesus comes from the lineage of King David. This is important because of the promise that God made to David:
Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.2 Samuel 7:16
Obviously, God isn’t saying that David will live forever. Instead, he is saying that his kingdom will endure. His line will live on and on, ruling and reigning over all.
This is why, therefore, it is important that it is understood that Jesus came from David’s line. First, Jesus is established as King from Israel in the line of David, having come from the genealogical bloodline of David. And second, Matthew establishes that Jesus comes directly from God as well:
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.Matthew 1:16
But then shortly after, we see that Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father, but instead Jesus was conceived within Mary by the Holy Spirit:
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.Matthew 1:24-25
If we look back at the Psalm that we originally started with above, we can see that the prophecy of the King and his Kingdom are fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is a King in both an earthly sense in that he comes from the bloodline of David as well as a King in a heavenly sense in that he comes also from the “bloodline” of God.
This year, as we celebrate Christmas, we want to remember that we aren’t just celebrating the birth of a baby. We aren’t just celebrating one that would one day save us. We are celebrating the birth of our King. Jesus came to establish his Kingdom, re-establishing God’s reign here on the earth. This is what the birth of Christ means: the birth of our King.