13.04.05 Mt. 22:41-45; Mk. 12:37b; Mt. 22:46 (See also Lk. 20:41-44)
JESUS ASKS THE PHARISEES ABOUT HIS OWN ANCESTRY
Mt. 41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?”
“David’s,” they told Him.
43 He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him ‘Lord’:
45 “If David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how then can the Messiah be his Son?”
Mk. 37b And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight.
Mt. 46 No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him anymore.
In His early ministry, Jesus did not bluntly say that He was the Messiah, or anything of His deity. However, in the course of time, as people realized this man from Nazareth was uniquely different, they began to question His identity. This was especially true when He performed miracles that they believed only God could do. So therefore, was Jesus God, or the Son of God? Why was the Messiah known as David’s son when David himself called him Lord?
“Whose Son is He?” There is no shortage to references to the Son of David in Jewish literature. They had good cause to ask the question. While the leading Pharisees responded correctly to the question posed by Jesus, they failed to recognize who Jesus was. Matthew emphasized throughout his gospel that Jesus met every requirement set forth by the ancient prophets. Yet these Pharisees refused to accept the identity of Jesus, even after He performed several messianic miracles.
As previously stated, Jesus followed the rabbinic technique of debating and teaching that was commonly used – one of answering questions with counter-questions. He asked His critics about Psalm 110:1 as this the passage was regarded to be Messianic. It has the phrase “Son of David” that was considered to be Messianic by two prophets (2 Sam. 7:14; Isa. 11:1). Explicitly, Jesus said, “The Lord (Jehovah) said to my Lord (Adonai).” The obvious question then is, if David called him “Lord,” how could he be his son? Could the most honored patriarch Abraham have called any one of his descendants “Lord?” Furthermore, Psalms 110:1 describes the messianic king as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. This had the profound implication that Jesus was that long-awaited fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, as well as a Melchizedekian priest himself.
Jesus had given them a riddle, the answer to which they knew but did not want to answer because then they would have to acknowledge He was a descendant of David. That, in turn, would open the door for the next confession – that He was the Messiah, a thought they refused to consider. They loved their blindness, ignored rules of basic simple reasoning, and permitted repeated embarrassments to build into anger and rage.
Consequently, they were humiliated beyond description. For centuries, they prided themselves on scholarship and exegetical purity; it was their recognized domain. Now, every time they encountered Jesus, their ignorance was exposed. Ancestry was one of the key points concerning the prophecies and identification of the Messiah. For once Jesus asked them a question. If they wanted to examine His genealogy, all they needed to do was to read the records in the Library of Pedigrees located in the temple. The answer to the question was clear: Jesus was both human and divine (Rom. 1:3-4).
Finally, Matthew told his Jewish readers that the birth, life, and death of Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Davidic Covenant as prophesied by the prophets. Therefore, the royal line is re-established. Although the Davidic Heir was crucified, He will reign in Jerusalem during the Millennium Period. There were many views concerning the Messiah in first-century Judaism, yet a vast majority of them agreed that He would be a descendant “son” of David. The point that Jesus made is not to deny that Christ is David’s son, but to argue that the key name for Him is “Lord.”
. The Hebrew term for Lord is Yahweh, or YHWH. See Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 332.
. Psalm 110:1 (verse 44) translation by Stern, Jewish New Testament; This verse is quoted more often in the NT than any other in the Hebrew Scritpures. See. Mt. 26:64; Acts. 2:34; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:20 Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13.
. For example, see 2 Sam. 7:12-14; Ps. 89:29-37; Isa. 9:2-7; 11:1-9; Jer. 23:5-6; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24; Psalm of Solomon 17:21-25; 4QFlor 1.11-13. The early church also reflected upon this in Rom. 1:3 and 2 Tim. 2:8.
. Farrar, Life of Christ. 354-55.
. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests. 186-87; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 285-86.
. Dalman, Jesus Christ in the Talmud. 31; Jerusalem Talmud, J’bamoth 49b.
. Mt. 1:21-23; 2:1-6; 3:1-12; 17:10-13; 21:1-5; The messianic title “Son of David” appears in the following three groups of passages in the gospels where it is always reflective of the Davidic Covenant: 1) In various healings by Jesus – Mt. 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; Mk. 10:47-48; Lk. 18:38-39. 2) In connection of the harassment the religious leaders gave Jesus – Mt. 22:42-43, 45; Mk. 12:35, 37; Lk. 20:41, 44, and 3) The praise the crowds gave Jesus at His entry into Jerusalem – Mt. 21:9, 15; Mk. 11:10. See Rogers, “The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels,” Bibliotheca Sacra. Part 1 of 2. 158-78.
. There are a number of extra-biblical sources that agree that the m/Messiah would be a son, or descendant of King David. Examples that support this are Psalms of Solomon, 17:21-25 and Dead Sea Scroll Fragment 4QFlor 1.11-13.
. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 332.