David Said (sermon text version)

My license plate proudly states “Land of Lincoln.”  Want to know why that is?  It’s because by many measures, Illinois hasn’t had an honest politician since then.  Land of Lincoln, our glory days!

  • No one wants a license plate that says Land of Blagojevich since it’s hard to pronounce, harder to spell, and would probably involve a huge tax hike in order to fit such a long name on such a small space.  Art imitates life.  Hmm.
  • No one wants a license plate that says Land of Lyin’ George Ryan…it brings back bad memories, especially as a truck license plate.  Hmmm.
  • No one wants it to say Land of Daley Corruption even if the Daley machine and all its corruption happen more than daily, just like voting among the dead in IL…where voting is done early, often, and from beyond the grave.  Halloween will be celebrated on November 4th in IL this year as the walking dead and the zombies come to cast their votes in Chicago, but they won’t walk to the polling places, they’ll be rounded up by bus.  Now that’s scary–the fate of the nation in the hands of such as these!

No, we keep “Land of Lincoln.”  Why?  Because he’s the favorite son of the State of Illinois even if he didn’t move there until he was in his 20s and he was born in Kentucky and lived in Indiana prior to that.  We were his third choice and it’s only to escape “milk sickness” that killed his mother years before when Honest Abe was only 9 years old.  But in IL, we’ll take what we can get—even third runner up—and we honestly appreciate Honest Abe hailing from our state.  He’s our favorite son.

david saidPeter, in our passage of Acts today, invokes the name of the Jews’ favorite son, David.  He was not only their favorite son, but a favorite king, and the figurehead of the Davidic dynasty, the Royal House of David. 

David’s immediate legacy, though, included a cast of characters that may have started well, but finished poorly.  More like Dynasty the TV show or reality TV as the Kingdom was divided up and split apart and almost all of them ended in exile, some never to return.  No wonder it’s not the Solomonic or Rehoboamic Dynasty…which is even harder to pronounce than Blagojevich.

No, David is their favorite son, the head of the Davidic Dynasty and the one Peter’s Jewish listeners (both the devout Jews and the Jewish converts of Acts 2) would have known as Messianic in its meaning.  Peter’s a really smart guy and a Jew who understood how to talk to Jews.  First, he brings up Joel’s prophecy regarding the last days and nails plank #1: Jesus is the Messiah who ushered in the Last Days by his Resurrection from the dead.

Now he enters the part of his speech—his sermon, really!—where he’s appealing to their favored son, David, and all the Messianic hopes that had been building over the years since David ruled…had been building during the time of the Exile…and had been building during the time of Roman rule…and were going to be fulfilled during the last days.  These Jewish hearers hated Roman rule and at this point, they would have been all ears!

Peter’s Jewish hearers would have been filled with all the “House of David” Messianic hopes that became central to their understanding while the Jewish people had been in Exile after David’s son Solomon died and a period of hundreds of years!  What was that hope?

  • Re-establishment of the throne of David
  • Deliverance from oppressors
  • People from all over would flock to Jerusalem to be in the presence of YHWH (Yahweh)—The Name of the Covenant-keeping God of Israel—in order to behold His glory!

But Peter clarified that hope of the Son of David, having learned at the feet of Jesus (and maybe also explicitly taught during Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances before His ascending to heaven).  Peter knew that the Messiah is the Son of David, but is not a biological son alone like simple genealogy, as if Peter’s going online at Ancestry.com and plugging in “Jesus of Nazareth.”  (Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but a title meaning Messiah).  Son of David was his genealogy, but it was more than that.  It was Messianic.

Interestingly, Jesus never referred to Himself as the Son of David, perhaps to avoid the people’s viewing Him as a nationalistic, earthly, military leader.  That’s what the expectation was.  That’s what David was:  a military man.  David killed Goliath and that was just the start of his killing spree.  David KILLED to overcome and to free people.  (1 Chron 28:3).   Jesus is different.  Jesus DIED to overcome death and to set people free! (Romans 6:3-11).

Jesus is not just “a” son of David, but “THE Son of David” foretold as the Messiah in the promise to King David (2 Samuel 7:10-16) given through the prophet Nathan.

Therefore, not just a Son of David, but The Son of David/The Son of God, Jesus is a transcendent being—One whose glory and authority and power and holiness far surpasses that of an earthly leader.  In other words, this Messiah (Jesus) is not earthly.  He’s heavenly, first having come down to earth, but rising from the dead, and He lost nothing of His glory in the process.  His deliverance of “Israel” (the ALL of God’s people from last week) is not earthly, political, or militarily.  It will be heavenly redemption.  Jesus came down to earth to set men free, and He displayed God’s glory in the process.

So, with this as background of how Peter is approaching Jewish evangelism, let’s look at our passage Acts 2:25-35 to see how the Resurrection of a Divine Messiah is Key and even their favorite son David said so.

Acts 2:25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

This quotation is from a Davidic psalm, one that Peter’s Jewish hearers would have viewed as having Messianic importance.  David is speaking of a resurrection that he was anticipating for himself and for God’s Holy One.  It couldn’t be that David was thinking of himself as God’s Holy One.  Why?  Peter tells us:

29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 

(That is what we saw in 2 Samuel 7).

31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,

(The Christ is another word for Messiah.  Jesus, Messiah, is the Holy One!  And that a thousand years earlier, David spoke of a resurrected Messiah was huge!  It’s the KEY! )

“that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. “

To the Jewish hearers of Peter, the death of Jesus was definitely not a plus!  It had been proof-positive (in their minds) that he wasn’t the Christ.  Not that He was the Christ!  Why?  Because, according to Gordon Fee, a “crucified Christ” makes as much sense to these Jews as “fried ice” would mean to us.  It’s nonsensical.  How can you fry ice?

It’s more nonsensical than the CDC director saying you can transmit Ebola on a bus, but you can’t catch Ebola on a bus.  Huh?? It’s more than an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, alone together, business ethics, or airline food which are just considered humorous contradictory terms.

In a very real way, the death of Jesus, to these Jews (and yet today, I might add) was the stumbling block, the #1 reason why he couldn’t be the Messiah.  Death is the ultimate disqualifier.  But Resurrection changes everything!

So Peter points out that Jesus didn’t remain dead.  He is alive just as their King David—their favored son—had prophesied!  And this is why the post-Resurrection appearances that we talked about in the earliest weeks of Acts were SO important!  Peter appeals to his having seen with his own eyes the Risen Lord!  He was a witness of the fact!

Resurrection of the Divine Messiah is Key!  And while it makes no sense for an earthly son of David who was a sinner like everyone else, it makes perfect sense when we’re dealing the Sinless One, not just the Son of David, but also the perfect Son of God.  It makes sense when we’re talking about the ways of the Almighty and the glory of the Son of God.

Peter continues:  33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he [Jesus] has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

(Do you see Peter looping back to explaining how the Ascension of Christ was proof that Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was accepted by God the Father and now the Holy Spirit was free to come in the last days?  And do you see how Peter is continuing to drive home the point that the speaking in tongues is NOT wine, but what they see and hear—what they are witnesses of!!!–is the pouring of the Holy Spirit and a sign that the last days the Jews have all been waiting for are now upon us?!)

garden tombIt’s because of the RESURRECTION of THE DIVINE MESSIAH!  IT’S THE KEY!

Peter continues appealing to the favorite son, “34 For David did not ascend to heaven,”

(It wasn’t David, earthly David or any earthly David offspring…but Jesus who is the Son of God in addition to THE Son of David who was exalted to the right hand of God!  Resurrection of the Divine Messiah is KEY!)

34 For David did not ascend to heaven,” and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”‘

Our English translations simply do not do this justice.  In Psalm 110:1, the Hebrew words would be “YHWH (Hashem, The Name which is Yahweh) said to my Adonai (Lord)”.  Peter clearly sees this as God speaking to Jesus Messiah who is David’s Lord…even if He is David’s son.

Why would Peter have seen it this way?  Well, he probably remembered Jesus teaching about it that we have recorded in 3 of the 4 Gospels, one of which is

Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘ 45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

The Jews’ Messianic expectation was that a son of David—an earthly military and nationalistic ruler—would rise up and deliver them from oppressors.  But Jesus taught Peter that the Christ, the Messiah, THE Son of David, is also THE Son of God, The Holy One, and He would deliver them from the ultimate oppressor: sin, the wages of which Scripture tells us is death.  If sin and death are the ultimate oppressors, then Resurrection Life is the Key to understanding this Messiah (who He is and the work He did)!

Why?  Because King David was still in his tomb—in Jerusalem—for all to see where it was.  Any biological sons of David will all go to a tomb too.  There’s a 100% chance of death unless Christ returns.

Christ Jesus returned once as resurrected–a Risen Lord–and showed Himself to people for a period of 40 days.  We saw that in the earliest chapter of Acts.

And Jesus will return in the final Advent, the Return of Christ.  How?  Because He broke the chains of death and He is not only the Son of David, but the Son of God.  He’s at God’s right hand.  He’s the One whose throne lasts forever.  He’s the One who vindicates at the end of the last days.  He’s the One who delivers.  He’s the One who saves…who TRULY saves.

When He returns—because He alone has been resurrected—He won’t just be a king.  He will be The King. The King of Kings…and Lord of Lords…the Lamb of God who is both the Savior and the Perfect Sacrifice.

As a teaser to next week’s passage of Scripture, Peter concludes this great sermon with the following statement which we’ll look at next week:  Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Boom!  A crucified Christ is possible because Jesus is the Son of David and importantly, also the Son of God.  Peter connects the two by saying this Jesus who was crucified….He is the Lord and He is the Christ and even King David, the favored son with the dynasty that never ends, said so.

So what does this mean for us?

  1. Well, first it means that what we do with Jesus has eternal consequences.  Will we consider it impossible to have a crucified Christ or will we think that all things are possible with God?  Will we accept that Jesus is the Messiah and He came to save you and me…while we were yet sinners?  Or will we die in our sins thinking He was just a failed son of David and it’s the tomb for all of us?
  2. Second, it means that we need to look at the ways Jesus is not meeting with our expectations and place the blame where it squarely lies: with our ruts, old tapes, and preconceived ideas, especially about the end times!  Jesus is not just an earthly son of David with a physical lineage back to King David.  He is God’s Son and His perfection ought to cause us to re-evaluate whether we are right to pin Him to our small expectations.  We think too little of God…in way too many ways.
  3. Third, as it relates to Jewish evangelism, we need to have deep empathy for those who are still looking for this son of David who will overthrow the oppressors.  Their view that a crucified Christ is impossible needs to be treated gently (because this is the KEY) and we can do as Peter did by pointing them to their favored son, King David, and saying that David foretold all this–including a Resurrected Messiah.  It’s been my experience that in certain segments of Judaism, they don’t know their Tanakhs just as many Christians have no clue what’s in their Bible.  We need to show them grace and keep pointing them to King David’s own words in the Psalms and do as Peter did: show them why Jesus had to die and explain that it’s not confusing at all if Jesus is also the Son of God, the Lord, as well as the Christ.
  4. Fourth, we can keep in mind that the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ form not only the turning point of all history, but is the Key to understanding the Divine Messiah and His role in the last days and the vindication to come!  He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  5. And finally, for today at least, is Jesus your King of Kings?  Is He your Lord of Lords?  Or is He just fire insurance or a “Get out of Hell Free” card?  If He is your King and He is your Lord, how ought that to change your decisions and how you live your life and how you spend your time and money?  If He’s Lord and not just Savior?

Because He’s not just an earthly son of David.  He’s the Lord.  And even David said so.  Let’s pray

Categories Chapel Worship/News | Tags: | Posted on October 21, 2014

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