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Bible Gem 1171 - They say the Christ is David's Son (Luke 20:41-46)

July 17, 2019

Then He said to them, "How is it that they say the Christ is David's son? 
"For David himself says in the book of Psalms, 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 
"Therefore David calls Him 'Lord,' and how is He his son?" 

And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples

"Beware of the scribes . . .    (Luke 20:41-46)



Now let's return to the questions I posed to you yesterday. 


How is Jesus question meant? It is hardly likely that Jesus was meaning it to deny the Messiah could be David's son. So it what way could He be both Messiah and David's son?  


Who is Jesus referring to when He says "they say"? 


Rather than gathering secondary sources, let's just look at the primary sources. As someone asked me a week ago, why am I not using the parallel account in Matthew and Mark at this time. 

Well to keep you all happy, here are the three accounts in parallel. 



When we set the gospel writers' accounts in parallel some interesting things emerge if we attempt to answer who "they say" refers to. Notice in Matthew the Pharisees are in focus. In Mark's account it is the scribes who are the subject. However Luke writes "they say" and leaves the identity of "they" ambiguous. Jesus had just been speaking to the teachers of the religious law (Luke 20:39) according to the NLT Version.  Other versions record "the scribes" as we find in Mark's account. It is highly likely that all groups were still present and listening to what Jesus was saying. So that would mean the group He was speaking to was a combination of the High Priests, the Sadducees, the Scribes and experts in the Law and the Pharisees. All of the opposition is gathered before Him. But it is hardly likely that He is referring to all of these in the term "they say". Simply because if He were addressing them He would likely use the 2nd person pronoun - "you say". But instead He says "they say". Some feel Jesus is referring to the crowd who are gathered as well. The ground swell of opinion is clearly that Jesus is the Christ. So the crowd would indeed fit the use of "they say". It is also possible that Jesus reference is to something wider than those gathered around Him at the time. I suspect it may well be the collective opinion over centuries, beginning with the reference from David himself. 


It is clear that Jesus opponents would agree with the fact that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. After all that is what the Word of God tells us. Jesus quotes the beginning of Psalm 110 to them. 


A psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit in the place of honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet." 

The LORD will extend Your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; You will rule over Your enemies. 

When You go to war, Your people will serve You willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and Your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. 

The LORD has taken an oath and will not break His vow: "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek." 

The Lord stands at Your right hand to protect You. He will strike down many kings when His anger erupts. 

He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; He will shatter heads over the whole earth. 

But He Himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious. 


Note the form of the quoted passage as it appears in the Old Testament. When it is quoted in the New Testament some versions capitalize it to show it is a quote from the Old Testament. Look at the form as it appears in Psalm 110. "The LORD said to my Lord." Note the capitals on the first LORD. This refers to [YHWH], the LORD, the name for God which Hebrew speakers felt was so holy they would not dare to take the name on their lips. Instead they substituted the word [adonai] which means "lord" or "master". When that is clear to us the passage in Psalm clearly depicts God (YHWH) addressed the King, David, as Lord, i.e. king and priest. That is an allusion to the messianic nature of the statement. But by the New Testament, it is even more clearly messianic and made to refer to the Christ. He is seated at the right hand of God on high, which symbolizes the place of honour and authority and power. By quoting this Psalm Jesus alludes to the fact that He who stands before them is indeed the One of whom David spoke. None other than Messiah. He is far more than a son or descendant of David, He is the Messiah, the LORD. The Messiah is clearly the Anointed One who is coming to reign but yes also He is a descendent of David. Yes indeed He is both a descendent of David and Messiah all rolled into One.  By using the term "Christ", the clear reference is to the Jewish term Messiah. Christ is the Greek version of the Hebrew Messiah, meaning Anointed One. 


Notice too the links in this quote to the context of Psalm 110. The matter of reigning over His enemies and making them a footstool as Luke records or as Matthew and Mark write, "put His enemies beneath His feet". This is a reference to war as seen in the Psalm. In war, the conqueror would place his foot on the throat of the vanquished to demonstrate the complete nature of the victory. Jesus by quoting this Psalm is reminding His opposition of their final state. 


Take note of the different ways in which each Gospel writer closes this segment. Matthew's closing line is the most dramatic: No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. Luke however  follows Mark's lead using a somewhat toned down ending while linking it clearly to what is to follow which we will look at tomorrow:  And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples "Beware of the scribes . . .  Jesus has made it clear He is the Messiah they have been waiting for and also stated plainly that this gathering opposition will be placed beneath His feet in ultimate victory. 


Continuing story tomorrow. 




The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.  Alice Walker


If you already have the gift AND the dream, you owe yourself the effort! Rick Godwin


All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them. W. Wiersbe


God needs warriors, not worriers! Rick Godwin






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