We’ve been looking at the names of God and how God’s names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Root of David’.
Last week we looked at why God the Son is called the Lion of Judah in a vision in Revelation 5: ‘Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne’ (Revelation 5:1-7).
But notice that there is another name immediately after the name Lion of Judah. What is it? The Root of David.
So why is Jesus called the Root of David too? Firstly, it refers to the fact that Jesus is a direct descendant of King David, the second king of Israel. Paul says about Jesus: ‘who as to his human nature was a descendant of David’ (Romans 1:3). The genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 also make this clear.
Thus as Jesus is part of David’s family, he is acknowledged as a King over God’s people. Meaning he is worthy to open the scroll depicted in Revelation.
But what is meant by calling Jesus the ‘Root’. The plant analogy points us back to the prophecies of the Old Testament about the Messiah, particularly that given in chapter 11 of Isaiah, which opens with: ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit’ (Isaiah 11:1). Note, Jesse was David’s father. And it also says: ‘In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious’ (Isaiah 11:10). Similarly, the prophet Jeremiah says: ‘”The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness”’ (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
So not only is Jesus a descendant of David, he is also the one who started David and his throne. This is only possible because Jesus is both God and man. As to his human nature, he is a descendant of David. As to his divine nature, he brought David and his descendants into being. He is the root and the branch of the monarchy.
So the title, the Root of David, reminds us that Jesus is the Supreme King of Israel. He is literally the first and last King of Israel.
But is God the Son your king and protector for all eternity? He can be, if you will simply start trusting in him.