Monday, February 14, 2011

Davidic and Solomonic Parallels in Jesus' Ministry

"Challenged about his activity, Jesus responded with a parallel: when David was roaming the country with his group of followers, he had the right as the anointed (but not yet enthroned) king to override the normal code of practice. The parallel makes sense only if Jesus somehow believed himself to be in an analogous situation. He had anointed by YHWH in John's baptism; those hunting him were cast in the role of Saul and his men. The fact that the messianic implication is not drawn out more explicitly by the evangelists (who have no inhibitions about the idea) speaks strongly in its favour - as well as suggesting that the concluding phrase, ' the son of man is lord of the sabbath', may also be intended to carry cryptic messianic meaning.

The second saying compares Jesus and Solomon. The setting is an announcement of judgment on Jesus' contemporaries, comparing them unfavourably with characters from biblical history. The men of Nineveh will denounce this generation, because they repented at Jonah's preaching, and something greater than Jonah is here; the Queen of the South will denounce this generation, because she came from far off to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and something greater than Solomon is here. Solomon, the temple builder, is an obvious messianic model. To claim that Jesus is greater than him is to claim that he is the true Messiah; that he will build the eschatological Temple; that through him the Davidic kingdom will be restored. The context also suggests that this Messiah will be the one to whom the nations will come and bow in obedience: through his kingdom the prophecies of messianic worldwide restoration will be fulfilled."

-N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 535.

1 comment:

JD said...

Love it.