It takes everyone to make a community. But some people are more visible, and some are more well-known. The theme of the Fairfax Fair this year is that we all have a superhero inside us. I realize the premise of that statement, but the fact is that not everyone will be known as a superhero, but we all have a role to play. Today, I want to compare the life of David and Jesus to show that it isn’t only the well-known that make a difference. Indeed, all of us can if we simply are faithful to what God asks us to do.
Christianity is filled with a long history of great names. Certain apostles such as John, Peter, and Paul are considered among the greatest people in the Bible. Others such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon, and Graham could be included on a list of great Christians. But what about Mary in the Bible? Which one you ask? That is exactly the point – a few Mary’s deserve consideration (Jesus’ mother, of Magdala, Martha’s sister). The Bible is filled with many “minor” characters whose contribution makes God’s story what it is. Their names may not seem as significant to us, and others are even unknown to us, but that does not mean that they were not faithful to God.
David’s song in 2 Samuel 22 is truly his testimony about God. However, another important part of his testimony includes all of those who accompanied David throughout his life – as family, friends, servants, and warriors. Chapter 23 provides an important look at those who supported David throughout much of his life.
The Three (2 Sam. 23:8-17)
Most everyone has a person or group of people they deeply trust. David had thirty-seven mighty men (v. 39), but three were extra special (most did not “attain to the three”, see verse 19). Although very little is known of these three men, their efforts brought about great victories with the help of the Lord. Jesus also had three who were privileged beyond the others.
- David had three who stood above the rest. (8, 9-10, 11-12, together – 13-17)
- Jesus had three who saw more than the rest. (e.g. Mark 5:37 – the healing of the deceased girl, Matthew 17:1 – the transfiguration, etc.)
The Next Tier (2 Sam 23:18-23)
For David, a couple of other warriors were worthy of having a story told about them, but the rest of his mighty men are simply listed as a name (with their father and/or place of origin). Likewise, Jesus had a group of other close followers whom were named, but otherwise little is known about them. In both cases, however, these names represent close followers of their leader – men who were willing to die to serve their leader. Interestingly, a contrast exists between David’s men and Jesus’ followers.
- David’s list of selected men includes one he betrayed (Uriah, v. 39).
- Jesus’ list of selected men includes one who betrayed Him (Judas, Luke 6:16)
In the stories of David and Jesus, a few people are named for their parts in the story. However, countless others are not. We may not know the exact role these individuals had, but we can be certain they contributed in small and in great ways to David and Jesus, respectively.
A king has others who serve the kingdom.
- David had counselors (e.g. Nathan), and friends (e.g. Hushai) to guide him
- Jesus sent 72 ahead of Him into towns where He would go (Luke 10:1)
A king has others to provide encouragement in the midst of challenges.
- David had priests (e.g. Ahimelech) and worship leaders (e.g. Asaph) who served the Lord through sacrifices and song.
- Jesus was comforted by Mary (John 12:1-8) and angels (in the wilderness and Gethsemane)
A king has subjects who serve without any recognition.
- Israel had thousands of people for David to lead. Certainly, not all of them appreciated David, but most did serve him because He served the Lord (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:6-9)
- Jesus sent the 72, but later appeared to over 500 men (1 Cor. 15:6), most all of whom are nameless.
Both David and Jesus impacted many people throughout their lives. Both also were positively impacted by many whether the help came from those in their inner circles, their close friends, or others who were nameless to most, but important to them. The truth is that whether our story is known by others or not, God knows it, and will use us for His glory, if we are committed to Him.
The choice often comes down to whether we would rather be known by man or by God. God may make a name for us if we are focused on bringing Him glory. But when our focus is on our own glory, we fail God, and ultimately fail ourselves. Therefore, we must each answer the question: Do you want to be known by men or by God?
So, whether or not a superhero is inside of all of us, we can all be great if we are faithful to our true leader – Jesus. That greatness may find us in a prominent place in the community or simply loved deeply by our families. But whatever greatness we may achieve, our success must always be measured by our faithfulness to God.