V Pentecost

June 24, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
Christians often view the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.  When we do this, it is not clear that the original authors of the Books of the Old Testament intended to be speaking about Jesus.  But, nonetheless, we Christians find Jesus in many of the stories of the Old Testament.

This week, as I was reading through the lessons, I was drawn to the Old Testament lesson from the first book of Samuel.  In it we read the familiar story of David and Goliath.  As I was reading this story anew this week, I was surprised to find a metaphor for the story of Jesus Passion, death, and resurrection.  I would like to share this with you.

The story of David and Goliath is one of a battle.  Is not the story of Jesus’ Passion a battle as well?  Jesus battles for our very souls.  But He does so not as a great warrior (as those who were waiting for the Messiah thought).

In the story of David and Goliath, we read of the challenge.  Goliath says:

“Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.   If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."

One person will fight for the rest.  The battle comes down to two who fight one another.  Isn’t this like the battle which Jesus wages on our behalf?  Jesus is in battle with the Devil, with the power of death itself.  If the Devil wins, we are sentenced to death; if Jesus wins we will have eternal life.

And David is a Shepherd.  We see this when the lesson says:

“And David rose early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took the provisions, and went, as Jesse had commanded him.”  And later when David himself says, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father…”

In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.

As everyone else is in fear because of Goliath, David says with great confidence:

"Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."

Jesus chooses to fight for us by accepting the Father’s will that He would die on a cross for the sins of the world.  A cross.  A simple cross.  This is what is used to save us.

David, too, uses something simple to defeat Goliath.  The lesson says:

And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"   Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a helmet of bronze on his head, and clothed him with a coat of mail.   And David girded his sword over his armor, and he tried in vain to go, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I am not used to them." And David put them off.    Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd's bag or wallet; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

A Shepherd’s bag, a sling, and five smooth stones.  Could these stones be seen as the five wounds that Jesus endures for us – in His hands, His feet, and His side?

In the lesson, we can see that Goliath taunts David in disbelief:

And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

And yet David says without fear: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied…”

As we read in the lesson, the battle plays out in this way:

“When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.   And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.”

One stone in the forehead of the great Giant Goliath.  David slays the giant with a simple stone.  Jesus dies on a simple wooden cross.  It looks as if the devil has won, but on the third day, we see that Jesus is the victor.

As Christians, we see Jesus in places where others may not.  If Jesus is at the center of our lives, we will see Him more and more, not only in the stories of the Old Testament, but in the story of our life as it unfolds before us.  Look for Jesus in the simple things, you may find Him in the most surprising places. AMEN.