Jesus and Goliath
Maybe the greatest Bible story of childhood bedtimes is David and Goliath. The story has all the fan favorite features of a juggernaut nemesis, an archetypical underdog hero, and a cataclysmic ending where the good guy wins and everyone goes home happy. While David and Goliath makes a good bedtime story for children, the book of Hebrews indicates that maybe adults should listen to a similar bedtime story- Jesus and Goliath.
The book of Hebrews opens with several truths about Christ that qualify Him to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, ruling at the right hand of God the Father. In Hebrews 1:2-3 the writer outlines two particulars that qualify Christ as the royal heir to God’s throne: His person and His work. Christ is God the creator and sustainer (v. 2-3). Christ has also accomplished the unrivaled mission of defeating sin through His sacrificial death (v. 3). Either one of these qualities in isolation would have substantiated Christ to be the universal king and Son of God, thus making Him better than the angels (v. 4).
In the Old Testament men were endowed with kingship for primarily two reasons. Royal bloodline was the primary qualification. Manasseh, for example, was 12 years old when he became king. This obviously had everything to do with bloodline and nothing to do with merit. In other cases, men were exalted as king because of some great act of valor they had accomplished. Saul, for example, was a man of war, and his defeat of Nahash the Ammonite (1 Samuel 11) secured his kingship with the people. In another example, David killed Goliath and routed the Philistines securing his favor and future kingship with the people (1 Samuel 17-18). The Hebrew writer effectively shows that Christ met both qualifications. Interestingly enough, the same Hebrew writer seems to have more to say about David and Goliath.
The Hebrew writer elaborates more on the person and work of Christ in Chapter 2, and it is at Hebrews 2:14-15 where the story of Jesus and Goliath is introduced. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Read these verses over again and see if a certain Bible story comes to mind. 1 Samuel 17:10-11 reads as follows, “And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.’ When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” As my father used to tell the story at bedtime, the Israelites were scared and went hiding in their tents because of that big ole giant. What made the Israelites afraid? They were afraid of death and the prospect of being subject to a lifetime of bondage to Goliath and the Philistines, the result if any Israelite defied Goliath and was defeated (1 Samuel 17:9/Hebrews 2:15). Not a single Israelite was brave or able enough to rival Goliath. Even the accoladed King Saul who had previously killed Nahash the Ammonite, even he could not withstand Goliath. There was no hope in Israel. They needed a savior. And so it was that David came flying in with five smooth stones, “So David prevailed over the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled,” (1 Samuel 17:50-51). The word association reminds the reader of how Christ was described in Hebrews 2:14 as destroying the devil who had the power of death. The story is the same, the only differences are the characters.
Hebrews is very intent on demonstrating that Christ is the exalted King of Kings in the first two chapters as is evidenced by all the prophecy quoted about the exaltation of Christ as the Son of God (see Hebrews 1:5; 1:8-9; 1:13). Again, Christ qualified for this position not only because of His person but also His mighty act of valor. Christ slung the stone from the cross of Calvary that struck Goliath right between the eyes. With His last breath on the cross Christ drew Goliath’s own sword and cut off that giant’s head.
There is no reason a person should fear death anymore if he trusts and follows the resurrected King. Christ representatively tasted the penalty of death for all men (Hebrews 2:9), if and only if they do not neglect the great salvation that He has to offer (Hebrews 2:3). Consider a better alternative to death without hope. Consider the Savior Christ Jesus.