Bible Readings for September 8th
When Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16, the anointing happened in secret. It is perhaps not surprising, then, to read that Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, makes Saul’s son Ish-bosheth king over Israel in 2 Samuel 2:8–11. Tomorrow, we will evaluate the actions of Abner, Joab, and Ish-bosheth. Today, however, let us consider the way this story in 2 Samuel 2 foreshadows the disputed reign of another true king—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even though Yahweh anointed David as his king, Yahweh does not immediately reveal that choice with perfect clarity to all people. Similarly, in the life of Jesus, there are four main places where Jesus is identified as the Son of God but without universal clarity.1 One of those events was public, one private, one veiled, and the final one disputed.2 The first event was at the baptism of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and the Father boomed his praise for his Son publicly from heaven for all to hear: “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:11).
The second event was private, only for the eyes and ears of Jesus’ closest three disciples, Peter, James, and John, when Jesus was transfigured into his glory. There, the Father insisted that Jesus was greater than both Moses and Elijah, saying: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7).
The third event where Jesus is identified as the Son of God is the most interesting: at Jesus’ crucifixion. This event was public, but its significance was not equally clear to all. Furthermore, the declaration of Jesus’ Sonship comes from the most unlikely of sources: a Roman centurion overseeing the crucifixion. Seeing Jesus die, the centurion says, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).
Ultimately, the legitimacy of Jesus’ reign hangs on the final event where God declared Jesus to be his Son: his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Nevertheless, there are still those who dispute Jesus’ kingship, either because they remain unconvinced that the resurrection happened or because they think that, even if the resurrection did happen, nothing in this world has subsequently changed because of it. But if God did raise Jesus from the dead, shouldn’t that provide sufficient proof of our Lord’s kingship?
Perhaps not quite. David’s story, in fact, gives us another pattern—a pattern where Yahweh’s anointed one would be rejected, despised, and mistreated in this life. Nevertheless, the day is coming when Jesus will come again in his glory, riding on the clouds, and on that day, no one will dispute his reign. Therefore, let us look to him in faith now so that when he comes, we may rejoice to see our king coming to rescue his people once and for all.
1 As we will see later in our study of David, the title Son of God is the title God used to speak of the kings in the line of David (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14), although that title became much more significant with Jesus, who is not only the rightful heir to the throne of David but also is the eternally begotten Son of God the Father.
2 For a detailed exposition of this progression in the Gospel of Mark, see Frank Thielman, The Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 57–83.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.