It is said that the inscription on King Arthur's tomb read: Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus -- "Here lies Arthur, the once and future king." The legend of Arthur is the story, lost and wonderful and sad, of a king who began his reign with such promise, a good and just king, but ends in tragedy and grief and death. But a prophecy speaks of Arthur reigning again in the future.
The Arthurian legends were based on the story of King David in the Bible. David is the most fully realized portrait of any biblical character except Jesus of Nazareth. He is a deeply complex and tragic figure: a soulful poet, a great warrior, a man after God's own heart, an adulterer, a murderer, an indulgent but neglectful parent, a man full of passion and tragedy. In David, we see the human condition in all its complexities and contradictions.
And, in David, we see a glimpse of true greatness, a just king who delivers his people from oppression and reigns in peace. That promise is finally fulfilled in his son, Jesus. Jesus is repeatedly called the Son of David, born in the City of David, who would sit on David's throne. There are over 50 mentions of David in relation to Jesus. Which means the New Testament is telling us that you can't understand Jesus without immersing yourself deeply in story of David.
We are going to begin a new sermon series, the bulk of which will focus on David, but also looking at Samuel, the last of his kind, the final prophet-judge of Israel, at King Saul, the first king of Israel and a deeply tragic figure, and many other surrounding characters - Jonathan, Abigail, Michal, Joab, Mephibosheth, Nathan, Bathsheba, Solomon, and so many others - that make the story so richly detailed.
We are going to begin a new And in the end, we will come to a deeper appreciation of Jesus, the Once and Future King.
[Illustration of David and Goliath by Gustave Dore.]