Text: Matthew 22 : 15 - 46
All three groups, the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees had had their opportunities to defeat Jesus in public debate. All had failed miserably. It was now Jesus’ turn to raise a theological question to all present!
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’
They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’
He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him,
‘The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
If David then calls Him “Lord,” how is He his Son?”
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day
on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
Jesus raised a number of important questions that would have demanded quite a bit of knowledge and skill from the Pharisees. The Herodians and the Sadducees would not have been able to attempt to answer any of these questions.
1. The question concerning “The Christ”
There could not have been a more important question than this one, especially when Jesus was right in their midst! We need to bear in mind the following thoughts, as we ponder why Jesus raised this issue up to the Pharisees.
a) The Triumphal Ride was still fresh in the memory of all
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the streets were lined by multitudes, all singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9). The chief priests had objected to this song being sung by the children in the temple precincts (Matthew 21:15).
b) The Cleansing of the Temple had just taken place too
The vendors had probably not dared to set up their stalls as long as they knew that Jesus was in Jerusalem. Those who were chased out would probably be still smarting.
c) Great miracles had just been performed in the Temple grounds
The blind and the lame had sought Him out in the Temple precincts. Jesus had lovingly healed all who came to Him (Matthew 21:14).
d) The Supreme Teacher
Jesus had just proven Himself to be The Teacher par excellence. His knowledge of the Scriptures just could not be matched!
What did all these things suggest to the Pharisees? Did they not wish to even consider that perhaps Jesus was the Christ after all?
2. The Identity of the Christ
What was the problem? Jesus asked the Pharisees what they knew of “The Christ”. Cautiously, they gave the standard answer, “He was the son of David”.
That was technically correct, but only partially so. Jesus then raised an important text for their consideration.
a) The Son of David was NOT “The son of David”
Yes, the Messiah, would be the son of David, in that He would come from this line. He would have claims to the Davidic kingdom.
No, He would not be a son in the usual biological idea of the word! If He were a mere son of David, He would not be the Messiah. If He were the Messiah, then He must be greater than David himself.
b) Proof that Jesus was greater than David
The Pharisees would have to have very sharp hermeneutical skills to comprehend what Jesus taught next.
i) Claim that David made because he was inspired by the Spirit of God
This was what Jesus was in fact saying when He declared,
“How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’…”
ii) David did call “the Messiah” Lord
Let us ponder the text Jesus cited more carefully,
“The LORD said to my Lord…”
The first reference, spelt in capital letters would no doubt refer to the Lord God of Israel (In the KJV, NKJV, the four tetragrammaton YHWH is always rendered “LORD”. Other modern translations translate these four Hebrew letters as YAHWEH or JEHOVAH). In any case, no one could mistake His identity. He was the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
In the text taken from Psalm 110:1, David clearly called the Christ, “My Lord”. He distinguished Him from the God of Israel, and yet He was nevertheless addressed as “Lord”. Obviously, he could not have called a mere descendant of his “lord”.
Who could this Person be? He has to come from the line of David, and yet He has to be greater than David himself!
Jesus did not mean to silence His critics. He sought to open up their understanding. But every one kept silent instead. They were too awed!