At the height of the Advent Season, December 19, the Roman Catholic Lectionary remembers the Biblical Judge, Samson. Her daily reading id as follows;
There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren; she had borne no children. The Angel of Yahweh appeared to this woman and said to her, 'You are barren and have had no child, but you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. From now on, take great care. Drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb; and he will start rescuing Israel from the power of the Philistines.' The woman then went and told her husband, 'A man of God has just come to me, who looked like the Angel of God, so majestic was he. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. But he said to me, "You are going to conceive and will give birth to a son. From now on, drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb to his dying day." '
The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him; and the spirit of Yahweh began to stir him in the Camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:2-7, 24-25)
The name “Samson” seems to invoke images of surpassing physical power, bawdy adventures, and questionable dalliances. He has also been the fodder for many, misguided, “fire and brimstone’ preachers who want to give a lesson on wasted gifts. The Church sees a value, an intrinsic worth to these narratives. The reasons for this recognition are really quite simple.
First, Samson was to halt the ascendency of the Philistine nation. He was not to complete the delivery of Israel (Judges13:5). This was a task left to David, the first true King of Israel. Historically, theologically, and literarily Samson prepared the way for David. Essentially, he was to begin the war that David was to finish (2 Samuel 8:1).
Second, by preparing the way for David, Samson also began the line that led to the Messiah, Christ Jesus. David was promised the eternal Kingship; When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7)
In the New Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews praises Samson as one of the “heroes of faith” (11:32) that looked toward the Messiah. The author of Hebrews saw Samson’s victories as being done by faith. Therefore, it was Jesus who fulfilled the faith of Samson . As it is written; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Therefore, in this time of intense preparation for the birth of Christ we need to remember the witnesses of the faith, like Samson, who were sent by God to make the way clear for His Son. Samson stands at the foundation of the messianic process. God chose to rest the entire structure of messianic history on his powerful shoulders.