Clothed in hats, snow pants, mittens, and coats, a group of young warriors stand prepared for battle. Before them stands the battlefield – a twelve-foot high pile of snow, pushed to the end of the parking lot by the plows. Each kid has the same objective: get to the top by any means necessary and stay there – also by any means necessary. Pushing, shoving, sweating and laughing. Snow and bodies fly everywhere. I sometimes wonder why our teachers ever let us play King of the Hill. The goal is to stay atop the hill. But when you have ten people all trying to do the same thing at the same time, you end up with a new king every 15 seconds or so while the previous king topples down the side of the mountain. In the game, and in real life, things change. Presidents, borders, situations; everything changes. Kings change. Except in our text tonight, there’s something that doesn’t. We just heard God say to David that after he dies and lies with his fathers, a new king will come after him whose kingdom will be established forever. He will be a son to God, and His people will live in peace. As we celebrate His birth and await His second coming, we know that Jesus comes to us as the king whose throne has been established forever.
As we just saw in the game King of the Hill, things can change quickly. This is especially true with kings. To see an example of that we need look no further than King David. We often put him on such a high pedestal, and perhaps rightly so, but he is quite an exquisite example of “flippy-floppiness.” For the man who wrote so many songs and psalms, who danced before the Ark of the Covenant and was a man after God’s own heart, all it took was one single look at Bathsheba on the rooftop. It was an expensive look that led the anointed king of Israel into a downward spiral of lies, adultery, murder, and idolatry. Suddenly a holy king changed into a lying, adulterous king. His son, who was hoped to be better, who was the wisest man to ever live, faired not so different. Solomon, the man famous for building the temple, the house of God, spent twice as much time building his own palace. His sacrificed 22k oxen and 120k sheep only to marry 700 wives and 300 concubines, the majority of whom were from people the Israelites were explicitly told not to intermarry with. His wives led him astray and he built two high palaces to two separate false gods on the mountain just east of Jerusalem.
Things change, kings change, and we change. By our own power, it’s almost never for the better. But sometimes, through the hand of God, things change for good. God says to David, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you.” (vv. 8-9) All these things – good changes. God saw something that was bad, in this case the reign of King Saul, and He stepped in. He took David from being just a shepherd tending sheep, placed Him as king of Israel while delivering enemies into his hands. Good stuff, and David had to mess it up with things like murdering Uriah and an evil census. Still, God had more good changes planned. “I will appoint a place for my people Israel and plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more…I will give you rest from all your enemies.” (vv. 10-11) That sounds pretty good. Despite the changes for bad that David made, Solomon made, and that we make every single day, God’s going to make a good one out of it. He’s done this by introducing that one thing that doesn’t change: His Son, Jesus Christ.
In the last couple weeks we’ve looked at Jesus as the Prophet who came to reveal to us His own Word, the good news of His death and resurrection for our justification, the remission of our sins. His death was the once for-all-time perfect sacrifice for sin. And now, as our great High Priest, Jesus stands before the Father in heaven to plead on our behalf. This week we learn that Jesus is not only our Prophet and Priest, but He is also our King. He is the king who the covenant with David looks forward to. He is the offspring who comes after David whose throne is established forever. God says to David, “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be a son.” (vv. 13-14) We have confirmation that this applies to Jesus when at His baptism the sky is torn open and these words are heard from heaven: “This is my son.” Again, at the Transfiguration in Luke 9, as Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah about His coming death and resurrection, the voice from the cloud again proclaims: “This is my son.”
Not only is Jesus God’s Son and the eternal King of All, but He suffered the discipline of the rod of men and the stripes of the sons of men, as our text from 2 Samuel says. The Eternal King, the king of all that ever was, is, and ever will be, suffered the condemnation that we deserve. The King who never changes, took the punishment of our changes, our backsliding. Our lies, the times when we confess with our mouths but inwardly curse, the pain of soured relationships and divorce, all of our sin, He took. The entire weight of sinful change, beginning even back in the Garden when Adam and Eve made a change of their own, was paid for by our King, Jesus Christ.
Why is it important that Jesus is the eternal King prophesied in 2 Samuel? It means that He is in charge of all things, and His promises are true. His love never changes or fades, and the blood that He shed for our sin never goes away. Jesus promised that He would be with us always, even until the end of the age. He is able and does keep that Word. In all times and in all situations, the Eternal King is never far. He hears your prayers, even the ones you whisper in your mind, and is even present here, now. He forever comes to us through His Word and in His Sacraments. That will never change.
Time comes and goes. Things change. Kings change. We’ve seen that in the reigns David, Solomon, and all the kings of the divided kingdom. We change, and not always for the better. But, there is One that doesn’t change: Jesus Christ, our King. He is the promised king who has built a house for the name of God and whose throne is established for all time. He Himself has made payment for the guilt of our sin with His precious blood. Now we await the time to celebrate His birth and His Second Coming, where He will gather all His saints together in heaven. Jesus promised, “Surely I am coming soon.” (Rev. 22:20) Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.