Son of God - The King
In 2 Samuel 7, we have the account of God making his covenant with David. David had wanted to build a house for God (the temple), but God won’t let him. Rather, God promises to build a house for David, but not a building but a royal dynasty that would last forever.
When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. (2 Samuel 7:12-14, NIV)
God promises that David’s Son will build the temple and that God will establish his throne forever. And then God says that David’s son will be God’s son. The kings of Israel in the line of David had a special relationship with God because they ruled over God’s people as God’s vice-regents. They were the representatives of the True King, God’s princes, God’s sons. Psalm 2:7 picks up this idea when God’s annointed king states that he does not fear the rebellious nations because God has said to him, “You are my son; today I have become your father.”
If you have read the Old Testament, you know that David’s descendants didn’t all walk with God. In fact, over the generations, the general trend of the kings in the line of David is away from God and toward wickedness. Eventually, things reached the breaking point and God allowed Jerusalem to be sacked by Babylon and the Jewish people taken into captivity. At this point, the line of kings was broken and by the time Jesus was born, there had been no true king from the family of David for almost 600 years. But God had promised an unending dynasty of kings from the line of David, so God’s people were waiting for the promise to be fulfilled and the annointed king, the Messiah to come and take his rightful place as the Son of God and rule over God’s people.
Jesus is that long awaited King. He is the Messiah, God’s Son. He was born into the family of David and and so he was the rightful heir, but there was more to it than just that. When the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about Jesus, he said this to her: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33, NIV).
Jesus was granted the throne by God for a never ending reign. Jesus wasn’t to be just one more king in a long line of kings, he was and is the ultimate king, the one whose reign will never end. Jesus is able to reign forever is because he defeated death. In the resurrection, Jesus broke the power of death and conquered it. So he now reigns as the king forever. As we've already seen, the Apostle Paul puts it this way:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:1-4, NIV)
When Jesus was born into the family of David and granted the throne by God, he became the Messiah, the king, the Son of God in an earthly sense. But when He defeated death through His resurrection, He became the exalted Messiah, the king forever, the Son of God in power. In other words, Jesus is king now and forever. He reigns now over God’s people (Jews and Gentiles who have put their faith in Him). We act as his ambassadors in a world that doesn’t recognize his authority and we wait for his return when he will bring judgement and salvation to the earth and everyone will recognize him as king.
So the first layer of meaning to Jesus the Son of God is that he is the new humanity. The second layer of meaning to Jesus the Son of God is he is the King forever. 1 Corinthians 15 puts together these two layers together in this way:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, NIV)
But there is still one more layer of meaning to Jesus the Son of God. We'll discuss that layer in part 3.
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