One of the most well-known paintings of Leonardo da Vinci is “The Last Supper.” Though fraught with biblical contradictions, it stands as the classic representation of Jesus with His apostles on this momentous occasion. Legend says that when Leonardo first revealed the painting to friends, they noted the attention to detail the artist had given, particularly to the fringe of the table cloth. Disgusted, da Vinci wiped away the ornate border and demanded, “Look at the Christ.”
If you could paint a picture of the Christ from any Old Testament figure, who would you choose? Here are a few suggestions: Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers; Moses, the great lawgiver; David, the shepherd king who slew Goliath; Solomon, the king who built the temple of the Lord; Isaac, who was offered as a sacrifice by his father. However, King Saul provides a picture of the Christ unlike any prominent men of the Old Testament noted above. The following parallels are provided for your study and consideration.
First, consider that Saul, like Jesus, was a son of exception. Saul is identified as “a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (1 Sam. 9:1-2). Without controversy, Jesus was a son of exception. He is “the only begotten son” of God (Jn. 3:16). When Jesus preached, “he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mt. 7:29). Seeing Jesus’ miracles the people declared, “We never saw it on this fashion” (Mk. 2:12). Jesus, the Son of God was truly a Son of exception.
Second, note that when first introduced to Saul, he is seeking his father’s lost possessions: “And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses” (1 Sam. 9:3). Jesus also was sent to do His father’s will (Lk. 2:49; Jn. 6:38), seeking lost humanity. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10; cf. Mt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15).
The third picture of Jesus seen in Saul is the involvement of a man of God in their anointing. Samuel, the man of God (1 Sam. 9:7-8, 10), anointed Saul to be king over Israel (1 Sam. 10:1). Though anointed with the Spirit by God (cf. Lk. 4:18), the Spirit descended on Christ after His baptism by John (Jn. 1:289- 34).
The fourth illustration of Jesus pictured in the life of Saul is the wondering of the people. After being anointed, Saul prophesied among the “company of prophets” (1 Sam. 10:9- 10). Following this, all who knew Saul wondered and said, “What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Sam. 10:11). After Jesus was anointed by the Spirit of God and returned to Nazareth, those who had known Him “bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Lk. 4:22; cf. Mk. 6:2-3; Jn. 6:42; 7:14-15).
A fifth demonstration of the striking parallel between Saul and Jesus is that the work of each man was, at the first, hidden. Saul did not immediately tell others he was anointed to be king: “And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you. And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not” (1 Sam. 10:15-16). Similarly, Jesus did not reveal himself at the beginning of His ministry. At the marriage in Cana (Jn. 2:1-11), though He performed His first miracle, Jesus kept his true work hidden: “mine hour is not yet come” (Jn 2:4). Jesus continued this throughout His ministry and charged His apostles to, “tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Mt. 16:20; cf. Mk. 9:9-10; Lk. 8:56).
The sixth picture of Jesus in king Saul is that both men were rejected by their own people. When Saul was identified by Samuel “the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace” (10:27). Similarly, we see that Jesus “was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:10-11). Furthermore, when Jesus was rejected, He also “held his peace” (cf. Isa. 53:7; Mt. 26:63; 27:12- 14; Lk. 23:9).
These are but a handful of the unlikely parallels between the life of King Saul and King Jesus. In truth, there are in total no less than sixteen similarities that could be considered! The point to be emphasized is, the Bible in its entirety is a demonstration of the Christ. When you read the Scriptures, Look at the Christ.