King David and the Scriptures

Mark 12: 35-37
Tob 11:5-15 / Ps 146

Halleluiah! Praise the Lord, my soul; I shall praise the Lord all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.
(Psalm 146:1-2)

Christ is the Lord of creation,
Put our troubles under His care;
Be brave, face all tribulations,
In Jesus have hope, don’t despair.

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area, He asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? With the help of the Holy Spirit, David himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit by me at my right side, and I will put your enemies under your feet.’ David himself calls the Christ ‘Lord.’ So how can the Christ be David’s son?” Many people listened to Jesus and they were filled with delight. (Mark 12: 35-37)

Reflection

The temple authorities, the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees and the teachers of the law (scribes) were all at a loss every time they engaged Jesus in a discussion on Scriptures. The whole chapter 12 of Mark’s Gospel bears out this tension between our Lord and the Jewish leaders. Why couldn’t these men, who were supposed to be learned, see that Jesus was the master of Scriptures not only because He was a great teacher, but more so because He was the Messiah Whom the Scriptures were referring to from the earliest times?

Jesus brought up the subject of King David because among the kings of Israel, he was the closest to God’s heart. He was not only a great and fearless leader, but his faith in God was incomparable. His writings were prophetic, constantly inspired by the Holy Spirit, and he became a great writer of the Book of Psalms. These inspired writings were sacred to all the Jews, and even Jesus referred to them on several occasions to prove His divinity and kingship. But for all his divine favors and blessings of wisdom, power and wealth however, King David still fell into a grave sin when he lusted for Bathsheba, who was another man’s wife. He not only committed adultery with her, but even plotted the death of her husband, who was a good and faithful soldier. God was greatly offended. And yet, in spite of this, God still forgave King David his grievous sins and saved him from destruction. All because David never lost hope, but put his complete faith in God’s compassion and forgiveness. He wrote: “Then I declared my sin to you, my guilt I did not hide. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the Lord,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin. Thus should all your faithful pray in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach them.” (Psalm 32:5-7) His sin led him to write many of the powerful psalms in the Old Testament.

Jesus was intimately familiar with Scriptures. In today’s Gospel passage of Mark, He cited a little known psalm of King David to open the eyes of the Jews about a prophecy that the Jewish scholars of the time failed to comprehend. Reflecting on this, we realize that Jesus wants us to grow in wisdom by meditating regularly on this precious gift of God’s Word. St. Paul tells us that “sacred Scriptures are capable of giving wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching . . . for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim.3:15-17).

Let us therefore set aside time every day to meditate on little known passages in the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to show us how these might relate to our daily life. Let the Word of God live in our heart by committing some verses to memory. Not only will this improve our memory, but will help us recall God’s wisdom for the right occasion.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill my heart with passion for the Word of God, so that I may fully understand the messages of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and appreciate the boundless love of our Father in heaven. Amen.

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