Jesus, son of Joseph of the House of David. Recently I learned how amazing that line is.
Beginning The Promise
To understand why we need to start with Abraham. God made a Covenant with Abraham that included numerous promises, including, the reader comes to realize, the promised seed of the Messiah. Abraham passed the blessing/Covenant down to Isaac. Isaac then passed it all to Jacob (actually Jacob “stole” it from Esau but that’s another story). Jacob had two wives (Leah and Rachel) and from them twelve sons, which led to essentially two different families.
The question comes – which family would receive the blessing? Which son would pass it on?
In one sense, all of the sons continued in the covenant. Hence Israel is also known as the 12 tribes of Israel. But to both Judah (of the family of Leah) and Joseph (of the family of Rachel) a special blessing was given. Both sons, both families could bear the line of the Messiah.
And thus begins the rivalry.
The Two Different Promises
The house of Judah and the house of Joseph continue to battle for supremacy throughout the rest of the Old Testament. Both families have kings come from their lines, both families rule Israel, and both families have God make a specific promise to them.
In 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with David, house of Judah, promising to build him an “enduring house” and a Son who would always sit on the throne. Many are aware of that promise. We call it the Davidic Covenant and use that reference when we call Jesus ‘the Son of David.’ Rightly so.
Very few are aware of the second time God made that promise. 1 Kings 11:38 – “And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.”
That promise was given to Jeroboam, house of Joseph, first king of the northern nation during the reign of Solomon.
Then there’s the very different types of prophecies about the Messiah. Some of the prophecies are incredibly hopeful and victorious. Others are gloomy and call for suffering and rejection. Look at Isaiah 53 versus Isaiah 9:6-7, for instance.
The Two Different Messiahs
In their reading of Scripture, the Rabbis picked up on all of this and so, created two different Messiahs.
The Messiah, Son of Joseph, would struggle like his forefather Joseph did. He would be rejected by his brothers. He would fulfill the role of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. And finally, he would be killed in battle with the Romans to bring redemption for his people.
Enter the Messiah, Son of David (house of Judah), this Messiah would fulfill the glorious promises God made to Abraham and Israel. He would be a victorious King, one who would sit on the throne of Israel forever. He would defeat her enemies and even raise to life his ‘brother,’ the dead Messiah, Son of Joseph.
Sadly, the house of Joseph did not walk obediently before God and they were disciplined accordingly. But the prophecies and promises of God could not fail.
How would God fulfill His promises? How would these two very different types of Messiah come to pass?
In Jesus the son of Joseph of the House of David.
As the literal Son of Joseph, Jesus was rejected, suffered, and killed by the Romans. As the Son of David He will return the victorious King who will vanquish Israel’s foes and sit on the throne in Jerusalem ruling forever.
Even the very names God chose for His Son’s lineage matter.
Jesus, the son of Joseph, the House of David. God is into the details.