The Davidic Messiah In Luke-Acts The Promise And Its Fulfilment In Lukan Christology -- By: Mark L. Strauss

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 44:2 (NA 1993)
Article: The Davidic Messiah In Luke-Acts The Promise And Its Fulfilment In Lukan Christology
Author: Mark L. Strauss


The Davidic Messiah In Luke-Acts
The Promise And Its Fulfilment In Lukan Christology1

Mark L. Strauss

This work investigates one theme within Luke’s christological ‘proclamation from prophecy and pattern’ motif, that of the coming king from the line of David. To determine the background to this theme, in chapter 2 the Davidic promise tradition is examined in its first century context of meaning. While the diverse writings of first century Judaism exhibit a range of eschatological expectations, evidence is found of widespread hope for a coming Davidic deliverer. Sometimes this figure is described as a new ‘David’, other times as a ‘seed’ or ‘shoot’ from David; sometimes he plays a relatively passive role, other times an active and executive one. Throughout, the essential hope is the same: a deliverer modelled after David, Israel’s greatest king, who will restore the nation and reign with justice and righteousness. A mediating position is reached between the traditional view that messianic expectations were quite fixed by the first century, and the more recent perspective that speculation was so diverse as to render the ‘messianic hope’ a fiction. At the turn of the Christian era, royal-Davidic expectations were widespread and relatively stable within a broader context of eschatological diversity.

The pre-Pauline formula in Romans 1:3-4 confirms that from an early period Christians took up the Davidic promise tradition as an aid in explaining the salvation-historical significance of Jesus the messiah. In their case, Davidic descent, divine sonship, and royal exaltation language were the most utilised aspects of the promise tradition. Jesus was the promised seed of David, now ‘raised up’ as Son of God in fulfilment of scripture.

Chapters 3-6 examine Luke’s use of this royal-Davidic theme. In chapter 3 the birth narrative is found to be thoroughly Lukan in language, style and theology, introducing

themes of importance for Luke and serving as an introduction to the whole of his two-volume work. It is significant, then, that Davidic messianism plays a central role in the christology of these two chapters. Of the nativity’s five major christological sections, three are explicitly royal-Davidic (Lk. 1:26-38; 1:68-76; 2:1-20) and two are implicitly so (2:8-20; 2:41-52). Using Old Testament language, ...

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