Read: Matthew 1:1
It’s critical to recognize that Jesus was the heir of David because this is what gives him the legal right to be the Messiah or Christ. In the 10th century B.C., God made a covenant with David, promising to establish an unfailing kingdom on earth under the kingship of one of David’s descendants. We find references to this covenant in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17.
David’s kingdom was divided after the death of his son Solomon. But the Old Testament foretold that a future king from David’s line, known as “the Messiah” or “the Christ,” would eventually restore the kingdom. We read about him in places like Psalm 89:3–4, Psalm 110:1–7, and Psalm 132:17. He would renew David’s kingdom and return the exiles to the Promised Land. And he would bring God’s greatest blessings to the restored nation. These promises can be seen in many places, including Jeremiah 23, 30, and 33, as well as Ezekiel 34:20–31, and 37:20–28. This is why Jesus’ genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 highlight the fact that he descended from David. They are intended to demonstrate that Jesus had a lawful claim to the office of Messiah or Christ.
In Matthew 1, Matthew begins his genealogy of Jesus showing how he’s a son of Abraham, son of David, and this is really important to Matthew. The reason for that is back in the Old Testament (the time of King David) God effectively had established the pattern of his kingdom (how his rule was going to be exercised in the world), and David had been an advance type, or template, of a rule that God was intending—God’s rule over God’s people in God’s place. And so it’s really important, having set up that pattern back in the Old Testament, that Jesus should come and fulfill that pattern. So that’s one really important reason. Another reason is, back in 2 Samuel 7 … there is a promise given to David that one will sit on his throne forever and will be the one who institutes God’s kingly rule. And that promise had actually been, in one sense, broken when there were no longer kings in ancient Israel — for five, six hundred years; no kings. And so then Jesus comes, and we read in the Gospels that he’s the one who is now sitting on David’s throne. That’s vitally important, that the Messiah, when he comes, comes from David’s line.
— Dr. Peter Walker
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