David’s Lord

“How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet’?” (vv. 43–44).  

- Matthew 22:41–45

Theologians often distinguish our hearts from our minds to explain the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Yet heart and mind are finally inseparable, for they overlap, as Matthew 22:37 reveals (see Deut. 6:5). To say that we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind is not to divide our personalities into three parts; rather, it means that we must love Him with our whole being.

The Lord who is worthy of such devotion is not like the Islamic god, who is unable to enter creation because he is only transcendent. Instead, Yahweh, the creator God and covenant Lord of Israel, became incarnate and entered human history two thousand years ago to bring redemption to His people. Today’s passage leads us to this conclusion (see also John 1:14).

Having confounded His questioners three times (Matt. 22:15–40), Jesus assumes the role of examiner, asking the Pharisees to name the Messiah’s father (vv. 41–42). This question is a no-brainer for the Pharisees, as well as every other Jewish sect of the day. The Sadducees, Herodians, Zealots, Pharisees, and so on do not agree on much, but all of them believe the Messiah will be David’s son. When the Pharisees admit as much to Christ, they are merely repeating truths revealed in 2 Samuel 7:1–17, as well as other parts of the old covenant revelation.

Jesus does not disagree with the Pharisees in Matthew 22:43–45, He merely points out an obvious truth of Scripture. The Messiah is David’s son, but as Dr. John MacArthur says, “‘Son of David’ does not begin to sum up all that is true about the Messiah who is also ‘Son of God’” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1,168). To prove that the Messiah is David’s Lord as well as his son, Jesus cites Psalm 110, which the New Testament quotes more often than any other Old Testament text. If, as most first-century Jews believed, Psalm 110 is messianic, David’s son, the Messiah (“my Lord”), is greater than his father. And who besides Yahweh is greater than David, the most exalted king of ancient Israel?

Christ is forcing the Pharisees to rethink their Christology and in effect asks of them the same thing He asked of Peter: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15–16). It is a question that He asks of us all.

Coram Deo

Augustine wrote, “Christ is both David’s Son and David’s Lord: David’s Lord always, David’s Son in time. David’s Lord, born of the substance of his Father; David’s Son, born of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Let us hold fast both” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first series, vol. 6, pp. 400–401). Jesus is no mere man, He is the resurrected Lord of the universe. Let us unwaveringly hold fast to this confession of faith, which alone can save us.

Passages for Further Study

Leviticus 26:11–12
Micah 5:2
John 1:1–18
Romans 1:1–6

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