A reflection on Psalm 110 and Matthew 22:41-16 for Sunday, March 28 at Mosaic Baptist Church.
The Lord says to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.’
The Lord sends out from Zion
your mighty sceptre.
Rule in the midst of your foes.
Your people will offer themselves willingly
on the day you lead your forces
on the holy mountains.
From the womb of the morning,
like dew, your youth will come to you.
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.’
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgement among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter heads
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the stream by the path;
therefore he will lift up his head.
Psalm 110 (NRSVA)
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by 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’”?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Matthew 22:41-45 (NRSVA)
Matthew presents a whole array of ‘testing’ questions posed to Jesus by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders immediately following Jesus‘ turning of the tables in the temple.
As we would expect, Jesus answers well. It piques with his articulation of love of God and others as central to the law and prophets. It stands in stark – and offensive – opposition to all Jerusalem and her temple have come to stand for. Sacrifice and offering are the core here.
Now, however, Jesus begins to play offence. They have asked their questions. Now Jesus poses his own: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’
They echo Peter’s Jesus’ earlier question: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ We already know, as careful readers of the Gospel of Matthew, that Jesus has embraced this title.
This is no periphery, semi-relevant line of questioning on Jesus’ part. It draws these religious leaders into the heart of Jesus’ ministry. It guides them back to Peter’s God-given answer: ‘You are the Messiah’.
The Pharisees relate the expected Messiah to David. Jesus, however, wants more.
His exegesis of the psalm points them beyond mere ‘Son of David’ theology. Jesus is not denying the connection. He is pointing to more. Certainly, ‘one greater than Solomon is here’. Perhaps Jesus wants them to think in similar terms of their most influential king.
One greater than David is here.
Wisely they pose no more tests. But why, with someone among them answering so well, do they not search for the humility to come back with more genuine concerns?
Clearly we have the capacity – even before God’s Messiah – to be frightfully compromised. Deafness to God can be quite complete.
What are the implication for you of Jesus’ claim to be Messiah? How does this change the way you think about Jesus?
What are the implications for you of Jesus’ claim to be Messiah – and be heading for the cross? How does this change the way you think about the Messiah?