Verse of the Day Devotion Matthew 22:42
“What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He? They said to Him, The son of David.” – Matthew 22:42
Now, after the Pharisees had asked questions of Jesus, He then turned the tables on them, and He asked a question of them. “Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,” Matthew 22:41. They had been asking Him questions, so He chooses to ask them one as well. He had evaded all their traps, which were based fundamentally on their refusal to recognize him as Messiah. Their problems were the fact that they were looking for a purely human, nationalistic liberator, and as far as they were concerned, He did not fit this idea. Now, we see this question in our focus verse. “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” Matthew 22:42a.
Jesus directs his question to explore the scriptural nature of messiahship. From whose ancestry is the Messiah to come. The answer, at least for Jesus’ immediate audience, would have indisputably been from the lineage of David. Their answer no doubt came from verses like one found in 2 Samuel.
“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” 2 Samuel 7:12-15.
Now, Jesus responds to their answer with another question. “He said to them, Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” Matthew 22:43-45. Their answer sets up the opportunity for Jesus to denounce their beliefs regarding the Messiah with the above questions. If the Messiah is merely the human offspring of David, why does David himself speak of him as “Lord”, a master or sovereign above the one who is king of Israel and the highest human authority in the land? Jesus here employs the rabbinic method of setting up antinomy, a contradiction between the two beliefs that are themselves reasonable.
He bases this on a verse in a Psalm of David. “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.” Psalm 110:1. Now, in order to completely understand this, we need to look at a couple of Jewish words that are translated as one word in English. The first ‘Lord’ (The Lord says) is YAHWEH, which is the Hebrew covenant name for God, the eternal God of the universe, the Great I AM who revealed Himself to Moses. The second ‘Lord’ (says to my Lord) is Adonai, someone or something having power, authority, or influence, a master or ruler, but not almighty God. Only Yahweh would be the word translated ‘God’, Therefore, what David said here was essentially, “God said to the Messiah, sit at my right hand, until your enemies are a footstool for you.”
Jesus’ reasoning is this: ‘Son of David’ is your title for the Messiah, yet David himself calls Him ‘Lord.’ The Messiah, then, must be much more than just a son, a physical descendant of David. According to Psalm 110:1, this ‘Son of David’ was alive during David’s time and was greater than David. All of this information is contained in the statement that “the LORD says to my Lord.” Jesus is David’s Lord; He is the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and Psalm 110 is a promise of Jesus’ victory at His second coming.
Jesus made it clear when He said, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” Matthew 22:45. The Messiah could not be a physical son of David because David died long before the Messiah was born. And this left the Pharisees speechless. “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” Matthew 22:46.
They refused to accept this, for it went against everything they had been taught by Jewish Leaders and Scholars. We need to be careful that we do not accept something as truth simply because it has always been taught that way. We must be open to the truth we may not fully understand, and then honestly study to understand it. And when we do this, asking the Lord to guide us, we can learn what is actually truth, and not merely tradition.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.