Last month I had the privilege of preaching at my church’s Sunday night service, where I wrapped up a summer sermon series called “Seeing Christ in the Old Testament”.
The text was 2 Samuel 18 (verses 1, 5-9, 15, 31-33) and dealt with the death of David’s rebel son, Absalom.
There’s good news and bad news when you read that story.
The bad news is that, if we had to play a part in that story, we would play the part of Absalom: the rebel child, arrogant enough to think we deserve to be exalted in our Father’s place, and deserving of punishment, even a brutal death hanging from a tree.
The good news is that Jesus plays the part of David: weeping over his rebel children with love, longing to die in their place, and then (as the true and greater David) dying the death we deserved to die, hanging from a tree instead of us.
The Old Testament shows us a problem: man has fractured his relationship with God.
The Old Testament shows us the solution: the perfect keeping of God’s law.
The Old Testament shows us that no one can do that. We all deserve God’s punishment.
The Old Testament, and even this story of David and Absalom, points us to the One who would restore our relationship with God, who would perfectly keep God’s law for us, and who would die in our place, as our substitute, “suspended between heaven and earth”.
Jesus died “instead of you“. And in Christ, our rebellion and arrogance is paid for, and covered over, and we are made sons and daughters of God, co-heirs with Christ, forevermore.
This is really good news!