Fatherhood is a gift, and it is based upon promise. It is not a reward, or a trophy. And when a man receives the gift of fatherhood as a gift, the result is that it is a gift to others.
“And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him . . .” (Mark 11:1-11).
Summary of the Text
Today is Palm Sunday, and we have a Palm Sunday text. We also have a text that points to something important about fatherhood. When Jesus came close to Jerusalem, He sent two of his disciples into a village ahead (v. 1). He told them that they would find there a colt that had not been ridden, and they were to untie it and bring it back (v. 2). If anyone asks about it, just say the Lord needs it (v. 3). Sure enough, this is exactly what happened (vv. 4-6). When the colt was brought to the Lord, the disciples spread garments on it, and Jesus sat on it (v. 7). The way before Jesus was strewn with garments and palm branches (v. 8). Those who went before, and those who came after, cried out, “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (v. 9). They also blessed the kingdom of their father David, and the one who came in the name of the Lord. “Hosanna in the highest” (v. 10). And so Jesus came into Jerusalem, came to the Temple, looked around, and because it was evening, He returned to Bethany with His disciples” (v. 11).
Our Father David
David here is described as the father of their nation, and the father of the coming iteration of the kingdom as well. What is this based on? There are several things to note. The first is that the kingdom promised to David was a promise of grace (2 Sam. 7:16-18). He was told that God’s mercy would not depart from his house, as it had with Saul’s. Later, David knew that his later behavior had forfeited this grace (Ps. 51:11). But, glory to God, inexorable grace cannot be forfeited. And this is why the perfect Son came as a son of David (Matt. 22:43-45). This is why He rode into Jerusalem as a blessing to the kingdom of David (Mark 11:10). This is why Mary was promised that her Son would be seated on the throne of David (Luke 1:32). And this is why Jesus, once He had been raised from the dead, was promised the sure mercies of David (Acts 13:34). This is right at the heart of the glory of the coming new covenant.
“Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers” (Jer. 33:20-21).
The Lord Has Spoken It
This plainly connects David with the Lord, the son of David, but how does it relate to you in the task you have of being a godly father?
“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it” (Eze. 34:23).
“And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore” (Eze. 37:24-26).
Godly Fatherhood, A Gift and Not a Technique
In the Bible what receives grace? What receives a gift? It is faith. Where does faith come from? It too is a gift of God. How is this gift given? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
You extend—because this is the way God runs the world—what you have received. If you as a father have received promises, you can extend promises. If you have received grace, you may extend grace. If you receive grace in nothing but a catechism sense (you talk about grace), but you extend nothing but law to the kids, this is revealing the central problem. What flows in is what flows out.
God has determined to save the world by His grace, and there is no other way it can be done. He saves individual sinners by His grace, which you all have experienced. But He also saves your generations—your children, and your children’s children, and their grandchildren—by His grace. He does this by and through the great son of David, the one who died for sinners. When you think “David” in this context, do not think “great Bible hero.” Rather think “adulterous murderer.”These are the sure mercies of David.
God knows our frame (Ps. 103:13-14). If we receive this information gratefully, we can know that we have by remembering our children’s frame. What flows in is what flows out.
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Ps. 103:17-18).
Covenant keeping does not allow for grace and mercy at the periphery. Covenant keeping by faith sees and understands that grace and mercy are right at the heart of the matter.