Seven years ago, I was introduced to this revolutionary idea that the bible was all about Jesus. This idea that the bible was all about Jesus rattled and unraveled me. It did. Now I cannot but see Jesus and his free grace in every story, event or person in the bible.
This has in many ways re-shaped my thinking, transformed my affections. When I interact with the Christian, I try to shed some new light on stories in the bible and help them see Jesus. With the non-Christian secular or religious person, I try to help them understand what the Christian faith is really all about.
So, I wrote all that to bring you to a story in 2 Samuel 11
This is David’s famous story of how he slept with his best friend’s wife, made her pregnant and then murdered her husband. Just to let you know that David has always been a revered figure in Jewish folklore and in the Christian faith. However, this incident stood out as a turning point in his life. It humanized David. David was just like us.
At this point it’s possible to write to you about how sinful adultery and murder is. And yes, they are sins. Sins that under the Law of Moses the penalty was death. If I do that I’ll be moralizing the story. Moralizing (from the word morals) simply means that we can infer from such stories moral principles that we could live by. For example, I’d tell you that you have to avoid committing such sins and then you will have a good life. I would show you the consequences of David’s sin and how you can avoid such.
Moreover, David’s incidence points us to a greater truth. It really does. In this story, Jesus is hiding in the shadows. What David did points forward to what Jesus would come and do albeit rather differently. “C’mon Schulter, you are stretching your imagination here? There cannot be Jesus in David’s sad and tragic story.” Yes, he is. Yes, Jesus is in the shadows. He wants us to discover and shine light on him in this rather tragic story — tragic from our perspective but glorious from his.
This past week Jenny and I were talking about this story and at one time she exclaimed rather annoyingly that she didn’t like the idea that David slept with another man’s wife, made her pregnant, and then murdered her husband who happened to be one of his best friends. And almost in the same sentence she saw how Jesus was hiding behind the shadows in this story waiting to be uncovered.
Let me shine a light on Jesus hiding in the shadows. Let’s expose him. Let’s rat on him.
The bible is all about Jesus
David was on his balcony when he saw Bathsheba. The king’s house in those days was built high up on the wall of Jerusalem. This means that he had a bird’s eye view of Uriah’s house. This is how he saw Bathsheba taking a bath. Suffice to say, Bathsheba represents you and I
God is in heaven. God looked down from heaven and saw us. He saw us naked. Naked? Oh yes! Christians believe that when Adam ate the fruit in the garden, their eyes (Adam and Eve’s) opened and they saw that they were naked and ashamed. Genesis 3:7 Since then, all of humanity has been naked and ashamed. Nakedness tells us that we lost something important. We lost our glory. We became sinners.
In spite of our nakedness we are beautiful. Just like Bathsheba was depicted as beautiful in this story. David the psalmist tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 God saw you as beautiful in spite of your nakedness. You are beautiful. He sees beauty in you.
You are beautiful
Grace came down
David the king sent some messengers to bring her to his palace.
Unlike David, God did not send anyone. God did not send angels. God came down. God left his “palace” and came down to us. God himself came in the body of Jesus. God became man. The holy one came and lived amongst sinners. He became like one of us. He took on our form. He became human. This Christmas song puts it this way, “Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail, the incarnate Deity.” (From the Christmas carol Hark! the herald angels sing)
Uriah (Bathsheba’s murdered husband) was a good man. His goodness is reflected in the intense loyalty that he had for God, David and the soldiers in the battlefield. He just could not abandon his duty for the sake of anything — not even to be with his family.
Uriah shines light on the holiness and goodness of the Law of God. The Law of God is holy and good. Paul writes this, the Law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. Romans 7:12
David slept with Bathsheba that was another man’s wife and hence broke the 7th commandment — “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
God wanted you. The conundrum was that you were married to Uriah. You belonged to someone else. You and I belonged to Mr. Law. You and I were beautiful yes, but we were married to Mr. Law. So, then God would not marry us. We were legally married to Mr. Law. If God married us while we were still married to Mr. Law, then he would have broken his own command,
So, what did God do?
A rather well known law existed then that if your spouse died, you were free to remarry. This same law still applies to us today. If you spouse dies, you are free to remarry. Jesus knew about this law and took advantage of it. This is what he did.
Just like Uriah, Jesus offered to go to the battlefields. The cross was the battlefield. It was a tactical move to get himself killed. He went and placed himself at the forefront where the battle was the fiercest. Why do this? This may sound wacky but track with me.
The idea behind Romans 7:1-4 is this — a death needed to take place in order for us to be freed from our spouse. Sadly, it was our death. The good thing is that Jesus was willing to die our death — which he did. He was “murdered” on the cross so that you could be free from Mr. Law and then came back to life (resurrection) and married you. By his death you were freed from Mr. Law and by his resurrection, you could now be married again. This is so awesome. I know it sounds wacky. Yes, grace is wacky. Grace doesn’t make sense at all.
By his death you were freed from Mr. Law and by his resurrection, you could now be married again.
You are His bride
The bible calls everyone who puts their faith in Jesus and his work on the cross as His bride. No other religion on earth has this idea that God is a husband or lover and we are His bride. It is very offensive to some faiths to claim that. The Christian faith however believes that God is a husband and a lover and we are his bride. A bride that he loves, cares, provides, and protects.
God did not murder another man and run off with his wife. He offered to die for his wife. God died to have you. God laid down his life for you so that you could belong to him. Sinners (naked) are now covered in the wedding gown.
God died to have you
To the Christian, you are married to the King that owns the whole universe. He will love, care, provide and protect you. To the non-Christian, hey you are beautiful even though you are naked. Yes, you don’t belong to him as of now. But you could. He will marry you and cover you with a wedding gown — it’s called the robe of righteousness.
Hey, I thought I should let you know this.
That’s what grace looks like