Redeemer Family, During holy week, our pastors and other leaders are sharing reflections about the week. What was Jesus doing each day? And how does this show more about who He is and what He accomplished for us in His death and resurrection? Follow along each day. - Pastor Kevin
Day 3: Tuesday by Pastor Barry Pett
Matthew 22:41-46 41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They replied, "David’s.”43 He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’:
44 The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet’?
45 “If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how, then, can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore.
We are now on Tuesday of Holy Week. If on Monday, Jesus cleansed the Temple of the sacrilegious vendors, Tuesday was the religious leaders' turn. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees differed on many things, but they were unified in their fear of the threat of Jesus. Matthew 21:46 summarizes their predicament: “And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.”
Therefore, to arrest him without it backfiring on them, they had to discredit Jesus. Matthew 22:1-40 is precisely this, as they took a tag-team approach in trying to catch him in something that would expose him as a fraud. Unfortunately for them, their attempts to discredit Jesus had the opposite effect as we read in verse 22 that they “marveled” at his response, and verse 33 says “they were astonished at his teaching.”
Next, while they “gathered together” (vs. 41), scratching their heads and trying to regroup, Jesus steps in with a question of his own, which turned out to be what they call in boxing terms, “A Haymaker,” or “Knock-out” punch.
“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” In their prideful confidence, they took the bait. This question was Judaism 101. Everyone knew the Messiah would come from the line of David. The Messiah was David’s son. So Jesus proceeds to snap the trap with Psalm 110:1. Psalm 110 has universally been acknowledged as a messianic prophecy in Judaism as well as Christianity.
The Jewish image of the Davidic Messiah was one who was like David, not greater than David. Further, in Jewish culture, the term Lord would only be given to an ancestor, not a descendant. Thus the conundrum Jesus posed was how David could refer to his descendant as his ancestor?
It appears they immediately knew their predicament. They no doubt remembered Jesus’ earlier discussion with possibly these same leaders that is recorded in John 8:56-58 where Jesus said,
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t fifty years old yet, and you’ve seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Jesus used their own messianic text to prove that he was not only the Messiah but also God! He identified himself as the “My Lord” of Psalm 110.
RC Sproul, in his St. Andrews Commentary on this passage, says, “The Hebrew Yahweh means “I am” in Hebrew. But in Psalm 110, Yahweh is having a conversation with someone apart from Himself, someone whom David identifies as “my Lord.” In this instance, the word Lord is rendered with capital and lowercase letters. This tells us that the Hebrew word that is translated here is Adonai, which literally means “the sovereign One.” So, God is speaking to “the sovereign One.”
The question Jesus posed to the religious leaders is essentially the same question he had posed earlier to his disciples when he asked, “Who do you say that I am? Peter, through divine wisdom, rightly declares, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” That answer is a stark contrast to the Jewish leaders on this Tuesday of Holy Week who simply slunk away committed never to ask him another question, but resolved in their commitment to having him killed.
So on this Holy Week 2021, we too are faced with the same questions, “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he? They are far and away the most important questions you and I will ever answer!