International Sunday school Lesson
For Sunday March 9, 2014
Purpose: To recognize in the birth of Jesus the fulfilment of God’s promises to David
Background: Psalm 89:3-14, 30-37; Isaiah 9:1-17; Matthew 1:18-2:6; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 1:26-33
Psalm 89:35-37 (CEB)
(35) By my own holiness I’ve sworn one thing:
I will not lie to David.
(36) His dynasty will last forever.
His throne will be like the sun, always before me.
(37) It will be securely established forever;
like the moon, a faithful witness in the sky. Selah
Isaiah 9:6-7 (CEB)
(6) A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (7) There will be vast authority and endless peace for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this.
Matthew 1:18:21 (CEB)
(18) This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. (19) Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. (20) As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (21) She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
I will offer some background information as you read the lesson. David’s descendants ruled from Jerusalem until 587 B.C. At this time, the Babylonian Empire destroyed the city of Jerusalem as well as the Temple built by David’s son Solomon. This ended the rule of David’s descendants. The Babylonians carried many of God’s chosen people into exile in Babylon. In 538 B.C. (49 years later) the Persians defeated the Babylonians and they became the ruling power. The Persian ruler at that time was Cyrus, and Cyrus permitted a group of God’s people under the leadership of one of David’s descendants named Sheshbazzar to return to Jerusalem. (Ezra 1-2)
The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the return of God’s people, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls. However there was no restoration of the monarchy and the rule of David’s ancestors. During this time period many of the scholars read the Scriptures and remembered God’s promises to David. What was left of a great nation began to long for a return to the rule of David’s ancestors, and they began looking forward to a new king from the line of David, who would usher in the kingdom of God. This new king that they longed for would be known as the “Messiah.”
Our lesson text highlights the promise made to David by God, and the eternal kingdom that would be established forever.
Isaiah a prophet during the time Jerusalem fell, also prophesied about this new King. He will come as a child with full authority to establish and endless peace for David’s throne. And also with the power to establish a new kingdom, that will last forever.
Lastly our text reveals how the birth of this newborn king will take place. The Messiah will come as a baby, born of a virgin, a descendant of King David. The Messiah will be fathered by the Holy Spirit, and will be called Jesus.
God is faithful in fulfilling his promise to David and to all humankind. God is also faithful in providing an opportunity for everyone to experience the endless peace of knowing we have been redeemed. It might not be the way we would have done it, but it was God’s choice to do it just as he promised.