Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew chapter 22 this morning. Matthew chapter 22. It seems as though each new paragraph that unfolds for us in Matthew’s gospel stands alone in uniqueness, in importance. We almost feel like we’re going from mountain peak to mountain peak, and it’s no different in that last paragraph in Matthew 22 to which we look this morning. It is just so very, very important. And I want you to listen carefully as I read Matthew 22:41 through 46, and then we look to it to see what the Lord will teach us.
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They say unto Him, ‘David’s.’ He said unto them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord” saying, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool”? If David then called Him Lord, how is He his son?’ And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither dared anyone from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”
What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He? What a question. The most important question of all questions. What do you think of Christ? Whose Son is He? When it comes to opinions about Jesus Christ, the world has never lacked for any variety of suggestions. In fact, about 100 A.D., the Jews wrote this of Jesus, quote: “Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray,” end quote.
A few hundred years later, there came into power in the Roman Empire a man named Julian the Apostate who ruled from 361 to 363. And Julian was known as the ancient adversary of Christianity, and he wrote this: “Jesus has now been celebrated about 300 years, having done nothing in His lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks that a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exercise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany,” end quote.
There have been people who took a very negative view of Jesus. The leaders of His own day said He did what He did by the power of hell, the devil himself. But for the most part, humanity has been somewhat condescending to Jesus, somewhat generous, somewhat patronizing, somewhat complimentary. Some of the great philosophers of the world have looked at Jesus as the best of men. Rousseau, for example, wrote, “When Plato describes his imaginary righteous man loaded with all the punishments of guilt yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he describes exactly the character of Jesus Christ,” end quote.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, himself not a believer, said, “Jesus is the most perfect of all the men that have yet appeared on the earth.” Diderot said He was the unsurpassed. Even Napoleon called Him the emperor of love. And John Stuart Mill, the philosopher, said He is the guide of humanity. The scientist Lecky said He is the highest pattern of virtue. Renan, the French atheist, said He is the greatest among the sons of men.
Theodore Parker called Him the Youth with God in His heart. And David Strauss, who was a staunch hater of Christianity and denied all of its supernatural claims, said Jesus is, quote, “The highest model of religion within the reach of human thought.” H.G. Wells wrote, “When I was asked which single individual has left the most permanent impression on the world, the manner of the questioner almost carried the implication that it was Jesus of Nazareth. I agreed, Jesus stands first,” end quote.
And so it has been that even in the mouths of those who do not believe in Him, there is a kind of condescending patronization that says He’s the best of men. But the other side of that is that underneath all of that is a very incipient denial that He is anything more than the best of men. And it has always been that Christianity has found its most violent detractors and its most aggressive attackers coming at the deity of Jesus Christ. That is the most attacked point of our doctrine. The major emphasis of those who would deny the reality of Christianity is to attack the deity of Jesus Christ, emphasize that He is a man and nothing more.
It comes from every direction. A couple of days ago I read an ad that came in the mail. It said this, “Sunday at 7:00 p.m., the Christadelphians invite you to a Bible address on the subject Jesus is not God, given by Arthur Woods, Bible teacher.” Three Sundays ago in the Seattle Times, a feature article appeared and filled the entire page. It read, “The Reverend David Aasen, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, has swung vigorously into a sermon series emphasizing Jesus Christ as man, not God.” He says that the reason there is any controversy at all on this issue is because, quote, “There’s always a bunch of people who say Jesus is God,” end quote.
He went on to say how important it is for us “to have as proper a perspective of Jesus as we can to know Jesus as He really is and not some fantasy,” end quote. In fact, he called biblical data concerning the deity of Christ, quote, “A lot of darned nonsense,” end quote. His associate, Gary Starkey, said, quote, “Jesus is one of us,” end quote. In fact, the article suggested that Jesus was like Mother Teresa or Caesar Chavez.
If you study not only liberal Protestantism, not only historic apostasy, not only European philosophy or even American philosophy where you get all of these opinions, but if you just study religion, you will find that it makes overt attacks on the deity of Jesus Christ. Let me suggest a few of them to you.
The Anthroposophical Society, led by Rudolf Steiner, who is an occult medium, says “Jesus was an ordinary man who at 30 received the Christ essence,” whatever that is. Black Muslim theology teaches that Jesus was a prophet; however, not the equal of Moses or Mohammed, and His religion was Islam, not Christianity. The Center for Spiritual Awareness led by Roy Eugene Davis says, “Jesus was an enlightened soul, and men must be awakened to their own Christ nature within them.” Christian Science teaches that Jesus was a mere man who demonstrated a divine idea but His blood cleanses nothing.
The Church of the Living Word leader, John Robert Stevens, considers himself God’s chief mediator and intercessor. The Church Universal and Triumphant with Elizabeth Clare Prophet as leader says Jesus is a man with Christ consciousness, one of many men who have achieved that level. Free Masonry says, quote, “We tell the sincere Christian that Jesus was but a man like us.” Hare Krishna says Jesus is just another guru. The I AM Movement believes Jesus is an ascended master. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus Christ is the created being, Michael. The Mormons say He is the spirit brother of Lucifer.
The Rosicrucian religion identifies Christ as the reincarnate cosmic man. Scientology teaches that Christ achieved as a man, quote, “A state of clear but not the highest state of an operating thetan.” The Local Church - the Local Church, Witness Lee, says Christ was neither God nor man but a mixture. The Unification Church leader, Sun Myung Moon says Christ must achieve perfection and He will do it by marrying and having perfect babies. The Way International, led by Victor Paul Wierwille, says Jesus is not God. The Unitarians teach that Christ was a man, and that’s a few of the myriads - the myriads of such attacks on the deity of Christ.
It is - it is absolutely prosaic to say it, that all false systems have a problem with the unique identity of the deity of Jesus Christ. And that is where the battle lines are ultimately drawn in terms of the Christian faith. These misrepresentations and misconceptions are not new. In fact, they even existed in the time of Jesus Christ. And they are essentially behind the scenes in this text. The Jews believed in a non-deity Messiah. They believed their Messiah would be a human political military leader. And this text comes as a corrective to that very serious error.
Now, you remember that this is Wednesday in Matthew 22 of the Passion Week, Christ will be crucified on Friday to rise on Sunday, and He is in a long, drawn-out conversation with the religious leaders in the temple. He has come to the temple which He cleansed the day before. He preaches and teaches the Kingdom. He is stopped in chapter 21, verse 23, by the authorities who say to Him, “By what authority do You do this and who gave You that authority?” He doesn’t answer their question, but He does give them three pronouncements of judgment in the form of parables saying to them, “You are shut out of the Kingdom of God and others are going to be put in there in your place.”
They’re incensed by the fact that He teaches contrary to them. They’re incensed by the fact that He has power that they don’t have. They’re incensed by the fact that He has popularity with the people that they can’t seem to attain. They want to get rid of Him. When He cleansed the temple, that only increased their hatred, and now when He pronounces judgment upon them, their hatred is increased all the more. And so they come back at Him with a series of questions meant to discredit Him. They ask Him three questions, none of the questions discredit Him, they all discredit the ones who asked them. And the people are even more fascinated with what He says.
And so, they have heard the three parables on this Wednesday. They have asked the three questions. And the conversation with the religious leaders is about to end. But there’s one more question, and it doesn’t come from them to Him, it comes from Him to them. And the purpose of this question is to make very clear the identity of the Christ, the Messiah. You see, they were living under the false assumption that the Messiah would be just a human military leader. Oh, He had to have all the right credentials, but He was human in the view of these religious leaders and their followers.
And so the Lord confronts them and the crowd gathered there at the Passover season with a pronouncement here that the Messiah in fact is far more than just a human, He is God. And that’s the essence of this passage. Now, it all begins with an incisive question in verses 41 and 42 - an incisive question. “While the Pharisees were gathered together,” you can stop there for a moment. That sets the scene. Go back to verse 34. “When the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.”
The Pharisees had asked Him a question with the Herodians. He answered that. The Sadducees, who were their enemies, came, asked Him a question, He answered that. He shut the mouths of the Sadducees, so the Pharisees regrouped and they were discussing that. They came up with another question. They sent a law expert to ask that question in verses 34 to 40. And you remember how that went. He asked what the greatest commandment was. The Lord told him to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. That has taken place. And the Pharisees are still gathered together.
All their questions have been answered. They have really nothing more to say. They have no more weapons left. Their arsenal is depleted. They have been set upon by the genius of His answers. They have no recourse. So He turns to them. They’re still gathered together. They’re still huddled there in the midst of the temple courtyard and no doubt surrounded by all the people with Jesus in the center as the focus of attention. And for the last time, personally, He confronts them. And you have to believe that His confrontation is a twofold thing, that on the one hand it is a proclamation of who He is that indicts their ignorance. It is a pronouncement that ultimately reflects upon their judgment.
In other words, He says to them you thought Messiah would be but a man, I’m telling you Messiah is also God, and your failure to understand that is an indictment, is the cause of your judgment. You asked me by what authority I did these things back when this day began, now I’m telling you the authority. The authority is that I’m more than man - I’m God. This, verse 41 to 46, is the answer to the question in chapter 21, verse 23. By what authority? It is at the end of the conversation that He gives the answer. This is the authority. And it comes in a very, very marvelous way.
And so He sets out, in a sense, to confirm their judgment by a proclamation of who He is, and it’s inconceivable that they are ignorant of that. But there’s more to it than that. I believe also that there’s an invitation here because not all the Pharisees were as rigid in their rejection as some. There must have been some tender-hearted ones. There must have been some sensitive ones because the law expert, or the scribe, that had just asked Him the question back in verse 35, when he heard the answer, Jesus said to him, you remember as recorded in Mark 12:34, “You are not far from the Kingdom.”
So it must have been that here was at least one - and there must have been more - who were close to salvation and for whom the further information about the deity of Jesus Christ could be saving truth, could bring them to the knowledge of Christ. And so I think it comes not only as an indictment, saying, in effect, how could you be so foolish not to know your own Scriptures, how could you be so foolish to have missed all of this, but it comes also as an invitation to those whose hearts are still open.
Notice the question, then. As the Pharisees were there gathered, Jesus asked them, saying, “What is your opinion of the Christ?” What is your opinion of the Christ? Now, He’s not asking about Himself, it’s indirect. He’s not saying I am the Christ, He’s not saying what is your opinion of me, He is asking them for a Messianic identification. You believe in the Messiah, the Christ - whenever you see that Christos with the article, it refers to the Messiah, the officially anointed One, the One they anticipated. Christ is really a New Testament term for Old Testament term Messiah.
So what is your opinion about the Messiah, the anointed One, the One you’re waiting for? Whose Son is He? Whose Son is He? Very simple question, as far as the Jews were concerned. Very easy to answer. In fact, it was so easy because they didn’t know the full answer. They thought they knew the answer. They didn’t know. They thought the Messiah was nothing more than a man, human. So the question appeared to them to be very easy to answer. What is your opinion of the Messiah? Whose Son is He? Simple. They never really understood the fullness of what the Messiah’s role would be, and they never understood His identity.
They thought His role was political. They thought His identity was human, and Jesus wants to take them to another understanding. So you go from the incisive question to the inadequate answer. Look at their answer in verse 42. “They said to Him,” and there would be no hesitation, whose Son is He? “They said to Him, David’s.” David’s. That’s easy. David’s son. And they hurry to show their knowledge when in fact they show their ignorance. You see, any Jew would have given that reply. I mean, that’s understandable. That’s what all the scribes taught.
In fact, in Mark 12:35, Jesus says you believe that Messiah is the Son of David because that’s what the scribes teach. And that is what they taught. You say, “Where did they get that information?” They got it from the Old Testament. You say, “Is it true?” Yes it’s true, He was Son of David. In 2 Samuel chapter 7, God gives the promise of an eternal Kingdom to David and He says this, “When thy days be fulfilled, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers. I will set up thy seed after thee which shall proceed out of thine own body, I will establish His Kingdom. He shall build an house for my name and I will establish the throne of His Kingdom forever.”
Can’t be Solomon because Solomon’s kingdom didn’t last forever, did it? Hardly. But there’s coming some seed out of the loins of David, some life in the Davidic line that’s going to have an eternal Kingdom. He will be a Son of David. And from 2 Samuel on, the Jewish people knew that it would be David’s Son who would be the One to reign and rule as the anointed, the Christ, the Messiah.
In Psalm 89, this is reiterated many times. Psalm 89:3, “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David, my servant, thy seed will I establish forever and build up thy throne to all generations.” In verse 20, “I have found David, my servant, and with my holy oil have I anointed him, with whom my hands shall be established, mine arm also shall strengthen him.” In verse 24 you have a similar word, “My faithfulness, my mercy shall be with him, in my name shall his horn be exalted.”
And in verse 34, “My covenant will I not break, nor will I alter the thing that has gone out of my lips, once I have sworn by my holiness, I will not lie unto David, his seed shall endure forever, his throne as the sun before me, it will be established forever like the moon and as a faithful witness in heaven.” So God promised that there would be a Son of David who could come to reign.
You can see it even in the minor prophets. It’s familiar to them. I’m thinking of - I think it’s the ninth chapter of Amos where there’s a recollection of this same promise. Yes, verse 11, “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that has fallen, and I will raise up his ruins and I will build it as in the days of old.” And in Micah 5:2, you have the idea that Messiah comes out of the city of David, Bethlehem. And so David’s son, David’s son is something very obvious in the Old Testament.
Now I want you to turn for just a moment to Ezekiel 37 and this points it up, I think, rather firmly in Ezekiel 37, and it does so in a unique way. In Ezekiel 37, verse 24, as the prophet Ezekiel under the inspiration of God looks to the millennial Kingdom, looks to the future, the day when God and His people will come together and they will be cleansed and all of that, they will be no longer defiled, there will be a great time of cleansing, verse 23 says. Then in verse 24, “And David my servant shall be King over them.” Now, that doesn’t mean the literal David, that is Messiah.
But Messiah as a couple of times is indicated in Psalm 89, which I read, Messiah is so identified with David that sometimes He is actually called David, there’s such solidarity between the two. So David my servant here in verse 24 refers to the Messiah, shall be King over them, they all shall have one Shepherd, they shall walk in my ordinances, obey my - observe my statutes, rather, and do them. They shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant in which your fathers have dwelt. They shall dwell in it, even they, their children and their children’s children forever.
And my servant David shall be their Prince forever; moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will place them and multiply them and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forever more, my tabernacle also shall be with them. Yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
So starting at the time of the millennial Kingdom and sweeping into eternity, David’s greater Son - who even here is called David because of that identification - will rule an everlasting Kingdom. So the Jews, because of those and other passages, knew that the Messiah was to be of the seed of David, of the loins of David. And as you move through Matthew’s gospel you see this. You go back, for example, to Matthew chapter 9, verse 27, and you will hear this cry to Jesus, “Have mercy upon me, O Son of David,” as there’s a reaching out for the healing power of Christ. Mercy, O Son of David.
You find in chapter 20 of Matthew, the two blind men in Jericho cry the same thing, “Have mercy upon us, O Son of David.” In other words, calling out to Jesus as the Messiah. When Jesus healed in Matthew 12:22, He healed many people, and in verse 23, all the people were amazed and said this is not the Son of David, is it? That was a Messianic title. When Jesus rode into the city, they cried “Son of David.” Son of David, that is the Messianic title. That is the term the Jews used to identify David’s greater Son who would sit on the throne and reign.
When Jesus went into the temple on the next day, Tuesday, and cleansed it, you remember the little boys all shouted “Son of David,” “Son of David.” So the Jews had it straight that the Messiah would come in the lineage of David, that He would come in the line of David. Now, this is very important, and that is why Matthew goes to great lengths to present Jesus Christ’s genealogy in chapter 1. He starts out the whole gospel by saying, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David,” and then he traces the entire genealogy from Abraham through David, down to Joseph, to Christ.
In other words, David was in - set in motion, a progeny or a line, which resulted in the birth of Messiah. Messiah came in the Davidic family. Luke in chapter 3 follows the same thing. Luke traces it through Mary, Matthew through Joseph, and it comes together to indicate that this is indeed a Son of David, both his father and mother were in the Davidic family.
And I want to just give you a little footnote, folks. If Jesus had not been, you can be sure that would have been a major issue in the New Testament with these leaders. You know well that they could have disqualified Jesus instantaneously from being Messiah if they could have proven that He did not have a Davidic genealogy, right? They could have eliminated Him very fast. And you know well that they must have checked. And in the temple they kept records on the genealogy of everyone. In fact, the records were kept so well that everyone knew their genealogy.
And it’s only been since the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. that the Jewish people today no longer know their genealogy because the records have been lost and they, being scattered, were unable to keep track of them. But those days were different and they knew - in fact, you couldn’t hold any civic responsibility in the nation unless your genealogy was known. The priests who married would never marry someone whose genealogy they did not know. So genealogy was very, very important.
And if they could have disqualified Jesus on a non-Davidic line, they would have done it. The fact that they didn’t and never brought it up indicates that in fact He was from the line of David, therefore was qualified humanly to be the King of Israel. And if they had had a monarchy in those days, He would have been the king.
But their answer, as right as it was, was inadequate. It was true but it was partial. It was correct but it fell short of the full answer. And, you see, they’re saying to Him who do you think you are, letting people call you Son of David? That great Messianic title is too great a title for you. And He is saying no, it’s too a small a title for me. Just the opposite. I mean David had many sons, thousands of them, many descendants. How was one to be distinguished out from all of them? I mean how was one to be distinguished above Solomon or above Hezekiah or above Joseph, the father of our Lord? Who was to stick out? I mean if you’re just looking for a son of David, you’ve got a lot of folks to choose from.
Where do we find the answer? Davidic descent is only one mark, there’s got to be another one. Where are we going to find it? Well, the first place we ought to look is where? Scripture - Scripture. And that’s exactly where the Lord goes. So the incisive question, they think it has a simple answer, but they have an inadequate answer. That leads to the third point that I want you to see, the infinite reality - an infinite reality. The Lord responds to their inadequate answer by presenting them something that is infinite, it’s incomprehensible, and it’s true and it’s marvelous.
Verse 43, He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him” - that is, the Messiah - “Lord?” How then does David in the Spirit call the Messiah Lord? If He is the Son of David, how is it that David calls Him Lord? The word “Lord” kurios, common word in the Greek, used many, many times in the New Testament for deity, it’s the title of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every time He’s called Lord, it’s kurios. You go back to the Old Testament, and the word that you’ll find back there for Lord is Adonai - Adonai. That, too, used all throughout the Old Testament as a title for God. A title for God.
For example, in Genesis 15, “After those things, the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.’ And Abram said, ‘Lord God.’” Lord God, that’s deity. And in Deuteronomy chapter 10 and verse 17, we read this: “For the Lord your God is a God of gods and Lord of lords,” Yahweh and Adonai, it is a title of deity.
There’s so many places you could look at this but Psalm 35 would be another one, verse 23. “Stir up thyself and awake to my right even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.” And then over in 38, verse 15, “For in thee, O Lord, do I hope. Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.” And you can find it all the way to Malachi chapter 1, verse 6, that God, deity is called Lord, Adonai.
So Jesus says if Messiah is only David’s son - human - how is it, then, that David calls Him Lord God? Deity? Divine? That’s an important issue. You say, “Maybe - maybe David made a mistake. Maybe he was - maybe he was a little, you know, out of sorts at that point. Maybe he was acting independently. Maybe that was his opinion.” No. “Well, maybe it wasn’t David at all that said that, we just think it was.” No.
Look at verse 43 again. “How then doth David” - watch this one - “in the Spirit call the Messiah Lord?” There’s a qualifier there that’s very important, isn’t it? When David called the Messiah Lord, he was what? He was in the Spirit - he was in the Spirit. By the way, that’s the same Greek phrase used in Revelation 1:10 and Revelation 4:2. Revelation 1:10 talks about John being in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. It means to be under the control of the Spirit.
And if you wonder what its interpretation is, all you need to do is compare Mark 12:36, the comparative passage, because in that text, Mark gives us the whole statement. “The Savior said, ‘How then doth David in the Holy Spirit call Him Lord?’” So He’s not talking about the human spirit, He’s talking about the Holy Spirit.
Now, we say this, then, that when David said it, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, right? David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls the Messiah Lord. And uses a term for Him that refers to God. Say, “Well, where did he do that?” So in verse 44, the Lord gives the Scripture, and He quotes directly from Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said unto my Lord.” David wrote that Psalm. And David wrote, “The Lord” - Yahweh - “said unto my Lord” - Adonai - and we’ve got two Lords, folks. Lord number one talking to Lord number two. “The Lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’”
God is called Yahweh, God is called Elohim, God is called Adonai in the Old Testament. And here, that God, that Yahweh God says to David’s Lord, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Now, Jesus used Psalm 110:1 for a lot of reasons but mostly because they all believed that Psalm 110 was a Messianic Psalm. They just didn’t understand the implications of that first verse. The Jews believe that. They acknowledge it as a Messianic Psalm. In fact, Psalm 110 is the most often-quoted Psalm in the New Testament. It is the most frequently-quoted Psalm in the New Testament. It is quoted by Peter, quoted by Paul, quoted by the writer of Hebrews. It is quoted in Matthew, Mark, in Luke. Now listen carefully. In all three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this Psalm is attributed to David by Jesus. In all three gospels, this Psalm is attributed to David by Jesus.
Now, what is the Lord saying? I want you to listen very carefully, this is very, very important and this verse has been attacked. Anybody who wants to knock out the deity of Christ, got to deal with this verse. And it’s really suffered the arrows of the critics. But listen carefully. When the Lord says David calls the Messiah Lord in this Psalm, the Lord is therefore interpreting this Psalm for us, and He’s telling us three things.
Number one, He’s saying the Psalm is Messianic because David is talking about Messiah. That’s the whole point of the conversation. “What think ye of the anointed one? Whose son is He?” They said, “David’s.” Then why does David call Him Lord? Jesus is saying Psalm 110 is speaking of Messiah because when David says the Lord said to my Lord, his phrase my Lord is Messianic. So Jesus is affirming the Messianic character of Psalm 110. Secondly, He is affirming Davidic authorship. He is saying David said it. You don’t see David’s name in Psalm 110, Jesus tells you David wrote it.
And that is the tradition of the Jews. Before Jesus’ time, they assigned it to David. That’s why it has that little indication at the heading that it was written by David, it is a Psalm of David. But Jesus affirms it.
Thirdly - and most important of all - Jesus affirms the deity of Messiah. When Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1, He says one, it is Messianic; two, it is written by David; and three, it affirms the deity of Messiah. That’s its intent.
Boy, this is important. Now listen carefully. I did a little reading this week in some of the critical analysis of this particular text, and I was fascinated to find out that many critics deny the Messianic character of Psalm 110. They say it’s not Messianic. In fact, they deny the prophetic character of it. In fact, they deny prophecy. And the reason they do that is because they don’t believe the Bible’s supernatural and it can predict the future. So they just make it a historical document, they deny its Messianic purpose.
Secondly, I was amazed to find out that critics deny Davidic authorship. They say language was not that developed. David couldn’t have written in his time. In his time, language was too underdeveloped to give the expressions that are given in Psalm 110, plus the priest/king situation would have been unfamiliar to David, which is a whole lot of baloney, to put it mildly.
And the third thing they deny is the deity of Jesus Christ. Now, if you’re going to deny the deity of Jesus Christ, you would do well to deny the Davidic authorship of this Psalm and to deny also its Messianic character. And then you can deny the deity of Jesus Christ. The only problem is you’ve just said Jesus is a liar because Jesus affirms the Messianic character of the Psalm, He affirms the Davidic authorship, and He affirms that it presents the deity of the Messiah. And so what you’re saying, in effect, is Jesus is a liar. So don’t come back to Him with any patronizing nonsense about the fact that He’s the highest level of human virtue because if He’s the highest level of human virtue, He wouldn’t be lying about who He was and who the Messiah was and is.
But it amazes me that they always turn the heat on those passages that speak of the deity of Christ. And frankly, I would rather trust Jesus Christ’s interpretation of Psalm 110 than any God-rejecting critic I can think of, whom I have no reason to trust at all. In spite of what the critics might say, Jesus said David wrote it. Jesus said David wrote it under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Jesus said David wrote it under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to speak about the Messiah. And He said he wrote it under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to speak about the Messiah to tell us the Messiah’s God. That’s why it’s there.
And what did God say to David’s Lord? Look at verse 44. What did He say to Him? “The Lord God said to my Lord,” - the Messiah, the Christ - “‘Sit thou on my right hand.’” What does that mean? God Himself, the Yahweh of Israel, the Creator of the universe, the God of very gods, as the theologians called Him, has designated a position of rank for the Messiah that brings Him to His own right hand and puts Him in co-equal place of power and authority with Himself, virtually declaring His deity, “Sit on my right hand.” “Sit on my right hand.”
That’s why Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews says that God has lifted Christ and placed Him at His right hand. Equal glory promised the Messiah because He is equal deity. And it says in the original, “Be thou sitting,” present imperative, continuous, take a continuous place of exaltation on the right hand of God. Now, the right hand of God is the symbol of authority, and as the right hand of a man normally is the strength and the power and the dexterity of the man, so the right hand of God is the place of power and authority and might. And so Christ is put at the right hand of God, a place of equality, a place of expression of authority, of expression of power.
And by the way, that authority and power is invincible because it also says in Psalm 110:1, “Until I make thine enemies thy footstool” - thy footstool. In other words, I’ll subjugate everything under you. There may be detractors, there may be Christ-deniers, there may be enemies of the Kingdom, but ultimately I’ll take all those enemies and they’ll become your footstool. In other words, you’ll - it’s that old oriental idea where the king puts his heel on the neck of the vanquished foe.
And if you want to see it specifically, you need only go to Joshua chapter 10, verse 24. Here, the kings that were defeated, they brought the kings to Joshua. Joshua called for the men of Israel, said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings. They came near, put their feet on the necks of them.” And that was the sign of the vanquished foe.
And so God says to David’s Lord - the Messiah - I’m going to bring you to a place of equality with me, a place where you express my power and my authority and it will be invincible, and all those who fight against you will be brought under the heel to show they are vanquished. Christ will subjugate all His detractors, all His rejecters, all those who deny Him. And when you read about the Kingdom of our Lord and the Kingdom of Christ which He rules, according to Psalm 2, with a rod of iron, in which He vanquishes all of His enemies and so forth, you know that this indeed is supported in many Scriptures.
Son of David is not enough, that’s the point. Son of David is inadequate. Son of God must be added - Son of God must be added. Verse 45, “If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?” Frankly, it’s a riddle they can’t answer. “And no man was able to answer Him a word.” They couldn’t answer it. They couldn’t answer it. These were the religious leaders, folks. This is the brain trust of Judaism. And they couldn’t answer Him because they would not acknowledge what was clear out of that passage and that was that He had to be God as well as man. How can He be Son of David and David’s Lord at the same time? He would have to be God and man.
You say, “Well, boy, how could they know that?” Scripture. Psalm 110, their favorite Messianic Psalm, or one of their favorites, it was all right there. The Lord said to my Lord. David acknowledged that. The Messiah was his Lord as well as his offspring.
Now, we could ask the question, well, this is so indirect, He’s just talking about the Messiah sort of out here. Where does it connect up with Him? Just this: they knew He was the Son of David, didn’t they? They, as I said earlier, surely would have checked the genealogy on that. Did they have enough evidence to know He was also the Son of God? Did they? I think they did. In fact, I think they had more than enough. I think He did so many things to prove He was the Son of God, they had to fight the obvious to conclude anything other than that.
“And many other signs,” John writes, “truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” All the healings, all the miracles, all the raising of the dead, all the incredible words that He spoke, the teaching that He gave, supernatural knowledge, all of that was to demonstrate that He was Son of God. They could see He was Son of David, genealogy proved that. They could also see that He was Son of God, His manifest miraculous, supernatural nature proved that.
And instead of them standing there dumbfounded, somebody should have said, “Messiah is then man and God, right? And we see in you the Davidic line and the deity.” But they didn’t say anything. You see, it is the great heart of Christianity that Jesus Christ is the God-man - the God-man - the God-man. And I don’t care what all these other isms and cults say and all these liberals. That is to deny the very heart of the Christian faith and to make out yourself as a fool when the Scripture is so abundantly clear.
If there were nothing else in the Bible but Revelation 22:16, it would be enough. “I Jesus,” here’s His own testimony, “have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” Listen to this, “I am the root and the offspring of David.” Now, how can you be the source of David and the offspring of David? Same thing. He is David’s Son, He is David’s Lord, the God-man. Yes, He’s human.
Luke 2:52 says He grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man. Every bit human, every bit the Son of David. He knew pain. He knew thirst. He knew hunger. He knew weariness. He knew sleep. He knew pleasure. He knew even the experience of death. He made a whip, He drove men out of the temple. He was no phantom. He could be spit on. His beard could be plucked. He could be crowned with a crown of thorns. He could be nailed to a cross, a spear driven into His side. Yes, He was human. He is called in the Bible Son of man, the man Christ Jesus, man of sorrows.
He possessed flesh and blood. He could be touched. He could be embraced. His feet could be kissed and washed. He had a soul and spirit, that human part of us. He says, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful” in Matthew 26. In John 13:21, “He was troubled in His spirit.” He was in every point tempted like as we are. He was Son of David, Son of David, He was a man. He was as we are.
But He was also God, and He shared with God the attributes of omnipotence. He is the Creator. He is the commander of the elements, as we see in His life. He is the controller of all the creatures. He is the provider of food. He is the healer. He is the raiser of the dead. He is the forgiver of sin. He’s the judge. He has the attribute of omnipresence. In Matthew 18:20, He said that He was able to be everywhere at all times if He so desired to be. He is omniscient. He knew things that people were thinking. He knew them before they ever said them or never said them. He showed that He never changed.
He demonstrated in His life that He, like God, is holy and true and wise and sovereign and loving and eternal and glorious. And when people worshiped Him, it was all right. And He asked to be prayed to, and He asked to be believed on for salvation. And He carried the same names as God carries, rock, stone, Savior, Redeemer, Holy One, Lord of hosts, King, first and last, Light, Lawgiver, and on it goes.
And whenever the writers of the New Testament present Christ, they present Him as Son of David, Son of God. And that’s why Paul in opening the Gospel of Romans chapter 1 says that this is a message concerning God’s Son Jesus Christ our Lord, made of the seed of David according to the flesh but declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. He is David’s Son in the flesh. He is God’s Son declared through the resurrection. And Paul, writing again to Timothy, says in 2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, born of the seed of David, risen from the dead according to my gospel.”
The gospel says He’s born of the seed of David, that’s His humanness. He’s risen from the dead, that’s His deity. And the God-man is the only way to perceive Jesus Christ accurately, the two natures of Christ indivisibly fused in the God-man. That is the theme of so many elements of Scripture. Read Philippians 2 again where He humbles Himself, thought it not something to hold onto to be equal with God, but abandoned that to become a man, humble Himself, obedient to death. And God highly exalted Him, giving Him a name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. Yes, He is Son of David. Yes, He is David’s Lord.
And what did they say when they saw Him in John 1? Yes, He was a man. He came into the world as a man. He was one of us and yet we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. They saw God as much as they saw man. And this is the only way to perceive Christ - the only way. I mean you have to believe He was God. Bernard Ramm’s rather classic approach to it offers some hypotheses that I think are helpful in our thinking.
If God became a man, we would expect His human life to be sinless - Jesus’ was. If God were to become a man, we would expect Him to be a model of purity - Jesus was. If God were a man, we would expect His words to be the greatest ever spoken - Jesus’ words were. If God were to become a man, we would expect Him to exert a profound power over human personality - Jesus did. If God were to become a man, we would expect some supernatural acts - and Jesus did them. If God were to become a man, we would expect Him to manifest the love of God - and Jesus did in dying on the cross.
And the conclusion can only be that He’s God, David’s Son, David’s Lord. And if they had had open hearts, they could have seen. And if they had asked the right question, if the Messiah is Son of David, Son of God, are you that Messiah? They should have put two and two together. But their obstinate unbelief left them with what I call as a final point, an inappropriate response.
An inappropriate response. Their response was not right. Verse 46, “And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither dared any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” He shut the mouths of the critics, frankly. He silenced those who wanted to ask Him questions to trap Him. Mark says in Mark 12:37, the common people heard Him gladly. The common people wanted to hear more. You say, “Isn’t that good?” Yeah, it’s good but the common people tend to follow whatever the trend is, and a couple of days later they’re screaming for His blood, aren’t they?
They wanted to hear more because they were still thinking He would be the political military leader. They weren’t quite turned off yet. But when it came that He never did overthrow Rome, they could be turned into those who cried for His blood.
But the leaders, they just shut their mouths. All their best-planned wisdom, all their genius, they asked questions, they got answers - profound. I mean just taking the questions they asked and the question Jesus asked here, you could give that to a person and it would be enough to tell them who Christ was without equivocation. They rejected all that. They would not be intimidated. They would not be embarrassed. They would not be humiliated by this uneducated young Nazarene. They refused. They were helpless in front of Him. He dumbfounded them. But they never got the message. They refused to believe.
Listen, as I’ve been saying in this part of Matthew, secularism, it isn’t secularism that is so much denying Christ as it is religion. Secularism is sort of indifferent. It is self-righteous religion that is so damning to people. And people get caught in these religions that deny the deity of Christ and they’re so damning. And they don’t want to hear the truth. How many times have we been brought into a discussion with somebody on the deity of Jesus Christ? It’s constantly there. And with all the evidence, like this inappropriate response, they say nothing, stop the questions. What is your response? What is your response?
Matthew 26:63, the high priest gets up on his little place of authority and says, “I adjure you by the living God, tell me whether you’re the Messiah or not.” Jesus said, “Yes, you said it.” It was a while after this until He actually said He was the Messiah, but they knew that’s where He was taking them. They wanted Him to say it so they could kill Him for such blasphemy. That’s how far away they were from the truth. All the evidence and they thought He was a blasphemer. So some took that approach. Some just silently walked away. And a few believed. What’s your response?
I always think about the Samaritan woman. She was the first person Jesus revealed His Messiahship to. You remember that in John 4? She was looking for Christ. He told her He was the Christ. She was saved. Do you know today there are between 400 and 500 Samaritans? And they’re up on Mount Gerizim still regularly waiting for the Messiah. They’re waiting for the Messiah. They don’t believe He ever came. He revealed Himself first to them. Historically, they’ve never believed. How sad. What is your response?
Jesus Christ. Yes, Son of David. Yes, Son of God. The God-man came into the world as man to die for man, as God to have victory over death and sin and hell. The perfect Savior.
Father, we come now in a moment of prayer, thanksgiving for the Christ who is our Savior, perfect God, to win the victory over death and hell and sin and Satan. God, who alone could defeat the grave. God, who alone could break the power of sin. He had to be God to have power of that magnitude. And He had to be man, else how could He take the place of men? How could He be a substitute for men? And so Jesus came, perfect God, perfect man, dying as man for men, as God for God’s sake, to defeat sin. We know that believing in Him we have life eternal.
While your head’s bowed for a moment, if you have never opened your life to Christ, you find that there is an awakening in your heart of faith in who He is, there’s a new vision, new perspective put there by the Holy Spirit, I trust you’ll respond. Jesus doesn’t need any patronization. He doesn’t need any accolades or sentiments from men, which are insufficient to proclaim who He really is. He is David’s Son and David’s Lord, Son of Man and Son of God, nothing less. And coming to Him with anything other than that is inadequate.
But if you believe that in your heart, receive Him as your Savior. He applies forgiveness to you, your sins are washed away, the gift of everlasting life is yours. That’s what He offers.
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