Playing “Where’s Waldo” with Jesus…
But, first, a little teaser… No, this isn’t about a picture of Jesus appearing on a wall in South America or in someone’s latte. Just trust me on this for a moment and read on.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”Ephesians 2:6-7, NIV
Some people get really geeked out on the Old Testament prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah. Even more get wide-eyed about the prophetic scriptures that foretell the Apocalypse. Today, I want to talk about a different kind of prophecy – one that will encourage you today, where you are, in which Jesus “appears” in the Old Testament. Understanding this old story gives us an encouraging picture of our current standing “in Christ”.
Saul, chosen by God as first king over Israel, rebelled against God in disobedience and God rejected him as king. God then chose David (outside Saul’s family) to succeed him. Saul’s son, Jonathan became great friends with David and entered into covenant with him. Then, when Saul and Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, the nurse who cared for Jonathan’s infant son, Mephibosheth, dropped the infant as she fled for her life, crippling the child. Years later, when David became king:
“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1)
Subsequent to that request, Mephibosheth, crippled since infancy, had all his grandfather’s lands restored to him and ate at the King’s table daily.
This is one of the coolest images of Christ in the entire Old Testament!!!
Here, in history, we have a picture (or, “type”) of Saul, depicting Satan:
- Chosen by God to lead (worship in Satan’s case, Israel in Saul’s)
- Rebelling against the Creator
- Rejected by the Creator
- Replaced by another (David)
- His position and possessions passed on to another (Mephibosheth)
Additionally, we have a picture of man in Mephibosheth:
- Broken and literally “fallen”
- He did nothing to receive the “curse” of being crippled, practically “born that way”.
- Unable to “walk with God”, both literally and figuratively, without the help of another.
- Descended from the rebel whose fall brought about his own.
- “Raised up and seated with the King…”
We also have a picture of Christ in David (from whose line the Messiah must come):
- King and agent of God
- Cutting a covenant (by blood) with the son of disobedience.
- Powerful enough to track down the descendents of the deposed/defeated king and kill them, yet showing restraint in not doing so.
- Showing mercy and kindness where he could have shown judgment
- Essentially “adopting” the broken and crippled (sitting at one’s table regularly was a big deal in that time and culture, even more so when it is the table of the king)
- Giving man regular and free access to the King.
Find Jesus, Find Grace
If you’re reading this and you get chills – you understand grace. If you get really geeked out by Ephesians 2:6-7, you understand grace. If you suddenly begin practicing how to say “Mephibosheth” so you can thank God for this story, you understand grace.
May you understand what you’ve lost through the fall. May you understand who God is despite the fall. May you grasp the truth about grace: regardless of how you were born and in spite of who you’ve descended from, Christ came to give grace to you. May you eat at the King’s table daily and know you are restored by the King to the place Satan was initially appointed: to lead worship of God forever!