Session #135 Full Marks
Scripture Matthew 22:41-46
Summary In Matthew 22:41-46, Jesus asks His question and redirects everyone back to the main issue – Christ. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures extremely well. But when it came to acknowledging Jesus as the Christ, that was a totally different matter. Right answers may earn full marks but still not produce the right response. Henson shares pertinent pointers for personal processing.
Matthew 22:41-46 is a culmination of a series of exchanges between Jesus and the religious authorities, beginning with his entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21. After being welcomed as the King, the Messiah, and the Christ, Jesus proceeded to chase the buyers and sellers out of the temple ground, prompting the authorities to question his authority. He answered by way of three parables that brought about three questions intent on entrapping him. In answering each, he left them with nothing to say.
The passage picks off from this incident, where Jesus then returns a two-part question to the Pharisees to shift the focus back to himself. While able to answer the first part, the Pharisees could not (or would not) answer the second, which would establish Jesus’ divine authority as not just the Christ but the Lord himself.
Whose Son is the Christ?
As the Pharisees gathered, Jesus asked them the general question of what they thought about the Christ and the first part question of whose son he was (verses 41, 42). The Pharisees said that the Christ would be “the Son of David (verse 42).” They were likely referencing prophecies such as those from 2 Samuel 7:13, 14 and Jeremiah 23:5.
Why does David call his son, Lord?
In the second part question, Jesus references Psalm 110 (verse 44) as he asks why “David in the Spirit” calls the Son of David “’Lord (verse 43),”’ and reemphasises the same question again after (Verse 45).
In doing so, Jesus was establishing himself as not just the Christ, but as the Lord. In Psalm 110, God, the LORD (יְהוָֹה Yhvh), establishes the Lord (אָדוֹן adon) as “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 100:4).” Additionally, God establishes the Lord as both the ruler (Psalm 110:2) and judge of all people (Psalm 110:5-7), or King of all people. Also, since David had received Psalm 110 “in the Spirit (verse 43),” the Lord would have been the authoritative source of this prophecy. The Son of David would not only come from the line of David, but would be the Lord himself, uniquely possessing the three attributes of ultimate King, high priest, and prophet that would make him the Christ, or anointed one.
Apart from establishing himself as the Lord, what can be implied by Jesus’ partial quote of Psalm 110:1 can be taken to be a rabbinic technique of emphasis by hinting through omission based on what was said. In this case, the follow-up statement or parallelism of Psalm 110:1 that was left unmentioned would be “The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies (Psalm 110:2)!” In other words, Jesus was warning the Pharisees that he was King and anyone who stood against that would be his enemies.
Stumped & Silenced
Since Jesus, the Son of David, had established himself as not just the Christ, but the Lord, the Pharisees had been cornered to accept him as such. Not willing to do so, they had chosen not to say anything at all, neither answering nor asking him a question from that time onwards (verse 46).
In conclusion, the Pharisees can be taken to be a negative example of people who seemingly know and accept Scripture but do not. Whether the Pharisees knew or not, all Scripture points to Christ and acknowledging that means aligning with Jesus as our Lord by moving on the assignments that he grants us.