1st Sunday after Christmas LSB #’s 903, 398, 380
Text – Isaiah 16:5
Then a throne will be established in steadfast love, & on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David One who judges & seeks justice & is swift to do righteousness.
The Righteous King On David’s Throne
How was your Christmas? Was it a wonderful day of celebration? It is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, because He is the fulfillment! But the fulfillment of what? The fulfillment of every human wish? The fulfillment of every utopian dream?
Over the years people have treated Jesus like clay, shaping Him into their own image, as the answer to their own self-determined needs & desires. Think of all the images put on Jesus.
Is Jesus the teacher of liberal morals? That was the view of Thomas Jefferson. In terms of politics Jefferson was very bright. But in terms of theology, he was a heretic. He created his own Bible by cutting out events like Good Friday & Easter.
Is Jesus a hippie? Is Jesus the Hindu sage? Is He the Nazi who promoted the supremacy of the Aryan race? Is Jesus the Marxist revolutionary who will help people overthrow the government to establish communism? Is Jesus the greatest therapist who will help people get in touch with their inner psyche? The list goes on & on & on.
Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment, but the fulfillment of what? Not the fulfillment of what we dream up in our imagination, but the fulfillment of Moses & the Prophets. He is the mediator of the new & greater covenant. He is the new & greater high priest after the order of Melchizedek; the all-sufficient atoning sacrifice, the new & greater Temple.
Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the OT Scriptures, & He is the new & greater Davidic King promised by the prophet Isaiah 2700 years ago. In order to understand Jesus of Nazareth, & what He came to do, we need to study the Before Christ Scriptures. The OT reveals what Jesus came to fulfill. They give us His job description. Isaiah announced in several places that there would come a new & greater King David. In these 12 days of Christmas we celebrate the birth of the new & greater Davidic King.
But you protest. We’re Americans. We don’t need a king, & do not want a king! Our standard is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” For this world,
that may well be, however, before God we need a king – a righteous king.
Ancient Israel discovered this during the time of the judges, when everyone did what was right in his own eyes – not in the eyes of God. They needed a king to lead them in the ways of Yahweh. Their Before Christ kings never lived up to this standard, but Isaiah promised that such a king was on His way. Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment given by the Great I Am.
Jesus is “the Christ.” The word “Christ” is not a name but a Greek word meaning “Anointed One.” It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” also meaning “Anointed One.” Jesus of Nazareth is the Anointed King, promised by Moses & the Prophets.
In several passages Isaiah made this promise & the sermon text comes from one of them. Moabite refugees were fleeing the devastation experienced by their land. They sought refuge in Jerusalem. God told Jerusalem to receive them & give them shelter. Even though they were Gentiles, the God of ancient Israel considered them His own:
“Let my outcasts sojourn in you [O Jerusalem]. Even Moab – become a hiding-place for them from before the devastator. When the oppressor will have ceased, (when) devastation will have ended, (when) they will be finished from the earth, namely, everyone who tramples others, then a throne will be established in steadfast love, & on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David One who judges & seeks justice & is swift to do righteousness.” (Isaiah 16:4–5)
Through His prophet Isaiah, God promised that the day will come when every wicked oppressor & every form of devastation will come to an end. When that happens, there’ll be a new king from the line of David, & He will sit upon David’s throne. That throne will be established by God’s steadfast love & trustworthiness to remain forever. The King will rule with steadfast love & trustworthiness. He will rule with righteousness. Both Israel & Gentiles will enjoy the blessings of His righteous rule.
Therefore, at the time of Isaiah God exhorted Jerusalem to shelter Gentiles already then, in anticipation of the day when oppression will come to an end & the future Messiah will rule on David’s throne. Isaiah gave a similar promise in chapters 9 & 11 – there will come a righteous king who will sit enthroned upon David’s throne, establishing peace & ruling with righteousness.
This King will not be like the corrupt kings of ancient Israel’s past, or the corrupt kings of the ancient Near East. Israel had seen their share of those kinds of kings. Every generation since has suffered under such rulers, self-aggrandizing, self-exalting, self-enriching & self-glorifying, who constantly victimize others while seeking their own coercive power.
This future king promised by Isaiah will not be just another corrupt & oppressive king of the world. This future king will rule in righteousness, in steadfast love & trustworthiness. To live under Him in His kingdom will be a blessing & a joy.
Isaiah promised that the future messianic king will sit on David’s throne. The angel Gabriel declared the same thing to the Virgin Mary, in Luke 1:32–33: “He will be great & will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, & He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, & of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Jesus of Nazareth did sit on the throne of David, but it took the shape of a cross. Above Him was written “King of the Jews.” By dying on a Roman cross Jesus was ruling, not ruling like a Caesar or king of this world, but ruling over sin itself, conquering it for Israel & for Gentiles. He was bodily raised from the dead on the 3rd day as the ruling victor over death itself.
Then Jesus ascended to heaven & was exalted to the right hand of God. David’s throne
has been exalted with Jesus to the right hand of God. Now, for 2000 years, Jesus has been ruling on David’s exalted throne, ruling over all authorities & powers & rulers, seen & unseen. He rules as the new & greater Davidic King, promised by Isaiah the ancient prophet. He rules to the benefit of His church – to your benefit.
Through Holy baptism His Spirit brought you under His blessed rule. Jesus of Nazareth is your King & your Lord, which means eternal life with Him in His kingdom with His Father & Spirit. Through His Word & the Lord’s Supper Jesus continues to exercise His saving rule.
You are not autonomous, & it’s a good thing. You have the blessing of living under the saving rule of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The rule of this new & greater Davidic King will never come to an end. Even the last chapter of the Bible reminds us of this, when the exalted Jesus says, “I am the root & the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Rev 22:16).
Isaiah promised that the future messianic king would rule in righteousness. Jesus has fulfilled that promise in a superlative way. He did so through becoming God’s righteous servant as promised in Isaiah 53. God laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. In 53:11 God says, “The righteous one, my servant will make the multitudes accounted righteous.”
Jesus the righteous king & servant took your sins upon Himself & gave you His righteousness. He rules with righteousness in a superlative & surprising way by giving sinners His righteousness in order to make them citizens of His kingdom. He rules in righteousness by giving you His righteousness. You now stand righteous before His Father.
Today we celebrate the birth of the messianic king of Israel. He rules on David’s throne with righteousness. Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of Moses & the Prophets. He is the king promised by Isaiah. That means good news for you & me. Rejoice! Jesus, Israel’s messianic king has been born, the righteous king who sits on David’s throne. He rules now & will come again in visible glory. Then will come to an end every oppressive rule of this age. All injustice will be brought to an end. The promise of Isaiah will reach its full consummation. Glory be to the Christ who rules now & forever. Amen.
Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son! Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free, to take away transgression & rule in equity. Over every foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest, from age to age more glorious, all blessing & all-blest. The tide of time shall never His covenant remove; His name shall stand forever – that name to us is Love. Amen. LSB 398:1, 5-6.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet