Posts Tagged "2 Samuel 7:1-17"

Jesus: King of the Low

December 19, 2018
By Rev. Peter Heckert


+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

David and Mary. Not exactly the highborn of this world. God took David from the filth of the field, from sleeping out with the sheep. Mary was a nobody from Nazareth, a teenager engaged to marry an older man who could at least help her survive. David was the youngest in his family, the bratty little brother. Mary was a youth.

No skill. No money. No power. No reputation. Nothing they had done won them favor in God’s eyes. God is not like us. He makes things out of nothing, ex nihilo. He makes the great out of the low, by grace.

And so it was with David. “You don’t make Me king, David. But I make you one. It is not your heart, your faith, your works that have made Me the Lord, the King of the universe. I am the King, but it is from My heart and by My works that I made you a king—been with you, cut off your enemies from before you, made your name great. I give you rest. And I promise that from your own body, your line, will come a king whose throne will have no end. I chose you, David, by grace.”

Mary, too. “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” she asks. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” I chose you, Mary. Not because you are more faithful or more pure—you’re not!—but because I am the King who makes things out of nothing, out of the low, by grace. I am the King who rules by giving, by serving, by acting for the low. I am the King … from beneath … by grace.

It seems backward, doesn’t it? Upside down. Why are you serving us, Lord? Shouldn’t we be serving you? David looks at his magnificent house of cedar, and it bothers him that the Lord is in a tent. I can’t even begin to tell you how Mary felt. The Son of God? I’m going to be the mother of the Son of God? Me? It all seems wrong. Shouldn’t the Most High be given the most honour? Doesn’t He deserve better than this—better than me? God is not like us. He makes things out of nothing, out of the low, by grace.

Isn’t it shocking? This is the plan. This is the sum total of all His saving work in the Old Testament—that He would leave the power and riches of His heavenly throne and come down to earth in human flesh, not for the mighty on their thrones but for the lowly. Not for the winners who have their act together. No, for the losers. The least. The lowest.

His coming makes Him the obedient little boy of this teenage pregnant mother. It makes Him the Son of David, though He is David’s eternal Lord. “I’m going to be part of your family, David. Me. I’m going to join the family tree, as your Son. I will call you grandpa, even while you call Me Lord.” We might not be comfortable with it. It might bother us—a lot—but it doesn’t bother the Lord one bit. This is the plan. This is what He wants to do for you and for me.

Because that’s where He’s headed, isn’t it? At you. And look at you. Not exactly the highborn of this world. Not exactly deserving of such a selfless, loving King. Yet this One, this Most High, sees you down here, and He brings Himself down to you, puts Himself beneath you, takes up His post all around you—that He might serve and protect you. Calm you. Care for you. And gently rule over you with His love and mercy.

No, He’s not your son. But He has made Himself your Brother. Joined you in your situation, even what you face right now—and made you part of His family. Though you may feel like a nobody from nowhere, He has made you a king, an heir of heaven. He’s with you, has cut off all your enemies—yes, your sin, death, the devil. He has joined His name to yours in the waters of Baptism . . . and thus has made it great.

These promises were true for David—we see them fulfilled in the womb of Mary—but they are spoken for you too. For even as Christ was conceived in Mary by the word of the angel, He has been conceived in your heart by the Word of God’s messenger, His preacher. You have found favour with God. You bear Jesus—His name, His righteousness, His rule—poured upon you in the water, sealed upon you by God’s powerful Word. There’s God’s name with you ever more (sign of the cross) on your brow when you awaken. On your brow at work. On your brow at close of day. We might not feel worthy, but that doesn’t bother the Lord. This is the plan. God is not like us. He makes things out of nothing, out of the low, by grace.

So, in good Lutheran fashion, we right ask, what does this mean? It means that when you face trouble tomorrow He will still be in charge. When you fear the division, hatred, and violence in our nation and in others, He is still your King, and His kingdom will have no end. When the disease comes back with a vengeance, He has still given you promises to give you a full and final healing on the Last Day. You don’t have to work harder to reach up to God. No … rather, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, He may exalt you. You are the servant of the Lord. You can say it with Mary, and believe it all the same: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word.”

I am your servant, Lord. You have said so. Your Word is on me. Over me. In me. For me. I am your servant.

She would later sing, you know. Mary. She would later put your heart’s song to words:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

This is your song. It was Mary’s. It was David’s. And it is yours. Because God is not like us.

This King Makes Things out of Nothing, EX NIHILO, out of the Low, by Grace.

+ In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. + Amen.

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