(Or The Sign or David)
David was a great king that did many great things. He also loved and obeyed God and as a result the Lord spoke to David in a very powerful way. David wrote these things down and they are collected in what we now call the Psalms. The Psalms are not only an expression of love and trust in God, but are also words of prophecy. These prophecies include that one day the Messiah would be one of David’s descendants and that he would die on a cross.
Note: For many Christians this is a little puzzling, so we need to dig deeper in scripture. Many believe that the Psalms are simply nice inspirational poems about how David related to God, but there is much material that is actually prophetic. In fact, Peter referred to David as “a prophet” in Acts 2:30 and quoted two passages (Psalms 16:8-11 and 110:1) demonstrating how Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecies about the Messiah.
In 2 Samuel 7:12-14, Nathan the Prophet tells David one of his own descendants will be king forever. Verse 14 records God saying through Nathan about this forever king, “I will be his father and he will be my son”, so as David wrote in the Psalms, such as 2:7,12, he understood this king will be from his own family.
In the same way, Psalm 22 is a prophesy about the crucifixion.
Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Psalm 22:7 and Matthew 27:39
“The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.”
Psalm 22:8 and Matthew 27:43
“If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him.”
Psalm 22:15 and John 19:28
“My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth”/”I am thirsty”.
Psalm 22:16 and Luke 24:40
“They have pierced my hands and feet.”
Psalm 22:18 and Matthew 27:35
“The soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
These verses and others clearly demonstrate how Psalm 22 is a prophetic picture of the crucifixion, so we can share that David says the great coming one will be crucified. As we consider the sum of what David says in the Psalms, we can, therefore, say with confidence that David says, “the great coming one will be a king from my family, and he will die on a cross.”
When I was taught about this I told my mentor “you can’t talk about a crucifixion with Muslims” and he simply replied, “just try it and see.” Sure enough, I’ve never had a Muslim interrupt me on this point as I share. It seems that they are so intrigued at this point that they want to hear the whole story.
The meaning is pretty clear from the account of the Psalms itself, so no need to elaborate.
In sharing with Muslims I generally simply say, “David was given the gift of the Psalms, and in the Psalms he said the coming one (or great coming sacrifice) will be from my family, so he will be the son of a king, and he will die on a cross.”
Optional use of the Qur’an:
– At this point we are using less and less of the Qur’an, but we can still say how God gave David power, wisdom, (The Heifer 2:251) guidance (The Cattle 6:84) and was given the gift of the Psalms (The Women 4:163; The Night Journey 17:55). Since the Qur’an does not tell us what the Psalms say, we need to direct our friends to read them for themselves.
– The sign of David is simply the Psalms itself. Although the Qur’an doesn’t exactly identify what the sign of David (and other signs) is, virtually every Muslim believes that the sign of David is the Psalms, which they may refer to as the “Zabur” (Arabic for Psalms). In fact, I don’t know of anything in the Psalms that a Muslim would object to as they read, so it is a wonderful place to go to introduce them to the Bible.