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Servant King?

Jesus, Son of David

“This is our God, the Servant King, he calls us now to follow him…” Yes, it’s one of my favourites too. Jesus, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, the washer of feet, the one who does the will of his Father, the humble Lamb of God, the Christ, our model for leadership, and, o, yes, the Son of David.

David. Yeah, you know, that young guy whose statue stands in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence (well worth a visit, if you get the chance). The one who slew Goliath. The youngest son, forgotten by everyone except God. Lovely.

Bit of a lad…

See the blog at for a summary of David’s career. Bit of a lad, really, to put it mildly. How could Jesus ever have anything to do with him, let alone be called, Son of David?

Of course, we could quickly bypass any potential embarrassment by focusing on the promise. The promise that was made to David’s descendants would be fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus was David, without the warts. That much is certain. Is there any other way Jesus could be called the Son of David?

Down to earth

If there is one thing we learn from David’s life, it is that in the midst of great offence, great failure and great harm, God brings forth growth and resurrection. Despite his many failings, David was a man who constantly repented, who always turned back to God, who somehow never doubted God’s love. During his long and eventful reign, God showed that he would not abandon him or his people. God would not recoil from the dirt but would overcome it.

In Jesus’ life and ministry, he too showed a heart constantly turned to God. He was not abandoned either, even on the cross, even though he felt like it. His Father, in whom he trusted, would bring resurrection from death; life from the earth. Thus, another of my favourite hymns, “Now the green blade riseth.”

You, my servant

We are called to model ourselves after Christ, yet sometimes we behave more like his ancestor (though perhaps not as extreme)! When we fail to live up to the servant leader model, what do we do? If we make the mistake of trying to earn God’s good graces again before we turn to him, clean out the stables before we let him back in, then we have failed to learn from David, let alone Jesus.

A heart turned to God, never doubting God’s love: that’s the servant king we’re called to be. We are God’s servants, and we are God’s beloved.

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