How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? (Mark 12:35)

WHY WOULD GOD LET HIS NAME be associated with sinful human beings? We don’t call ourselves the sons of Judas or (God forbid!) Hitler. Yet God calls himself the God of Jacob and, here, Jesus is called the son of David. Both these guys have some pretty serious sinful history. Lying, deception, adultery, and even killing feature largely in their stories.

The cultural reason Jesus would have claimed to be a son of David is His genealogy. We trace His family tree back to David, hundreds of years before. But why choose the guy who has such a checkered history? What was it about David that God also called him a man after His own heart?

Both Jacob and David appear very human in biblical stories, but they also exhibit a hunger for God that pleased God. David sinned with Bathsheba; killed Uriah, her husband; and often prayed for judgment on his enemies in the Psalms. But David also prayed many, many psalms of repentance (see Ps. 51) and adoration (Ps. 103), and David loved God’s word and laws (Ps. 119).

Isn’t it reassuring to think of the humanness of biblical characters and yet how God forgave them and used them mightily? Perhaps there is a chance for us to be used mightily by God despite our failings—if we seek after God with our whole hearts.

Amazingly, God can redeem our sins and use us to accomplish His plans.

Kathy Bence lives in Idaho with her professor husband, Phil.