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Jesus, the True and Better King

Written by Erika Castiglione

Although I have heard the story of David’s sin, repentance, and

restoration many times, as I listened to the passage read this past

Sunday I was saddened in a new way. I wondered how someone,

particularly a woman, would feel hearing this narrative for the first

time. In short it is the story of a man in power who uses his advantage

to force a woman to have sex with him, then, when afraid he might be

caught, goes on to arrange her husband’s murder, then finally repents,

is forgiven, and is considered by many to be a hero. Part of that just

doesn’t sit well anymore and my heart weeps over such a tragic

injustice. Surely at least part of David’s sin against a holy God is the way

he sinned against those created in the image of God by their loving


As I have taken some time to reflect, I have been reminded of a

few truths in light of this dark story. I could write about how the

context of this account written over 2,500 years ago in a different

culture and language can’t be fully understood by a modern, American

reader who does not live in an Ancient Near-Eastern patriarchal society.

I could write about how historical narratives are often descriptive not

prescriptive (what did happen verses what should have happened). I

could also write about how this is one chapter in the long life of a man

who wanted to know and please the Lord, who faced dire

consequences for this action, and whose repentance has served as a

model for many a sinner who fears they are beyond mercy. I could also

write about how God’s heart for the vulnerable is on display in the laws

and throughout all of scripture. These facts are all helpful, but what

gives me the most comfort is looking at Jesus.

I once heard Bible teacher, Elyse Fitzpatrick say, “If you ever

wonder what God thinks of women, look at Jesus.” She then went on to

speak of the way Jesus gave dignity to women steeped in shame,

tenderness to those who had only known judgment, and respect to

those who wanted to learn at his feet. It is a powerful exercise to go

through the gospels and look at each interaction (and there are many).

Just as the Hebrew Bible is full of stories of priests who made

sacrifices that were merely a shadow of the cleansing to come

(Hebrews 9:11-14) and prophets who could warn of judgment and tell

of future glory but were powerless to bring either about, it is also the

story of kings who fall short and fill us with longing for the ruler we

were designed to follow, Jesus, the true prophet, priest, and king. In

Jesus we see a king who has the power to cast out demons and even

conquer death itself, but also gently welcomes those acquainted with

sorrow. A king who does not mess around with those who pretend to

be righteous and use spiritual authority for personal gain, but instead

associates with those branded sinners and outcasts. A king who joyfully

blesses children and who weeps with friends at the graveside. A king

like none before him, a king who will reign forever.

Matthew 1:6 reminds us, shockingly in the middle of a genealogy,

that Bathsheba was not forgotten nor were the sins committed against

her and Uriah, and the gospels show us that Jesus ultimately is the

answer to all suffering and sin. David also was not forgotten and I never

want to despise the Lord’s kindness to him, knowing that the same

mercy shown to David is the mercy that enables me to call God my

father (Romans 2:4, 8:14-15). God is my hope when I sin against others,

and he is my hope when I am sinned against. Through the life, death,

and resurrection of Christ alone can both God’s justice and great love

be shown, and through his Spirit we come to understand both as we

walk with him, spreading kingdom justice and love, longing for our true

king to return to make all things right and new.

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