A Precise Question: Whose Son is the Christ? (Matthew Sermon 115 of 151)
February 28, 2010 | Andrew Davis
Bible Prophecy, Exaltation of Christ, Deity of Christ, Christ and the Old Testament
So that's my single desire for the sermon today, to elevate your thoughts about Jesus Christ that you would think greater thoughts of him than you've ever done before. I'm convinced there's not a person in this room that doesn't need that. We need our thoughts of Christ elevated, we need our thoughts of Christ to move up higher than they are right now. And everything we need is right here in this room right now, you have the scripture, right here. You have the Holy Spirit to do this, this is his task and the task of the scripture as we'll prove from the text today: The scripture's job is to elevate our thoughts of Christ, and this is what the Holy Spirit has done, that he would take from what belongs to Jesus and minister it to us, so that we would have great thoughts of Jesus. So while I'm preaching this I would urge you to pray for that to happen, pray for it in your own hearts, pray for it in this room, and then spreading out those lives that we touch.
Now, right now in my life, I have the privilege of teaching every week on Thursdays at Southeastern Seminary on the English Puritans, what a great movement of God, a great movement of revival happened in England through those individuals. Puritanism and the word Puritan isn't generally thought of highly in our age any more than it was in theirs, but they were remarkable people, who accomplished far more than most people ever do in their lives for a simple reason that they really, really trusted in God and in the scriptures and sought to put the scriptures into practice in every area of their lives. They were relentless in this.
And they had great visions of Christ and of what God could do in their country and in their lives, simply because they believed. Their number perhaps at 4% of the total English population when they took over the country for a short time in the middle of the 17th century. Other people, I think, lacked their level of commitment, their level of determination, but they were still well thought of even by those that weren't in their number. One Puritan pastor, in particular, Richard Rogers of Wethersfield in Essex, was told by a gentleman, a country gentleman, “Mr. Rogers, I like you and your company rather well. Only you're much too precise for me.” And Rogers answered, “O Sir, I serve a precise God.”
And we're gonna see the precision of God in the text today. We can see it in the universe that surrounds us, we live in a precise universe. And in these days in which we're battling against the weird thought of evolution, of atheistic evolution, we’ve got to counter it with truth. But God has left abundant evidence of his precision just in the cosmos. I mean, astronomers can predict with remarkable accuracy when a comet will return to this part of the cosmos. It's amazing, you can navigate by the stars. There's just a precision up in the cosmos and there's a precision down in this ecosphere as well. The way that God has woven together physics and chemistry and biology in a remarkable system that must be so, for there to be life. And if you could imagine, just the control panels of the world and they'd be labelled, and if you were to just move a few of those knobs just slightly, life would not be possible here on this earth.
And so, dear friends, we serve a precise God and the evidence of that precision is around us in the cosmos, but I would submit to you today: it's much more clear in scripture than anywhere else. The precision of God in Scripture is mind-boggling, it's breathtaking. And if you haven't had your mind boggled by it and you haven't had your breath taken away by it, then study the Scriptures more accurately. What amazes me is the synthesis, the harmony of these 66 books and how they proclaim with one voice, these doctrines we must know and believe. It's just incredible to me, and I don't think I have fully grasped just how deep it is.
The precision of God is just obvious in scripture. We're gonna see it here in this last passage in Matthew chapter 22. We're gonna see in this account, as Jesus has twice in Matthew 22, stunned his enemies by his answers to their questions. Now, he's gonna stun them even more by his question to them. They've been crossing swords intellectually battling back and forth Jesus' enemies, and now he is going to just render them silent by a question he asked here at the end of this chapter. And in this account, we're gonna see how precise is the Scripture itself and how precisely Jesus Christ handled the scriptures. Even down, dear friends, to a single letter in the Hebrew text, the whole thing hinges on one letter, whole thing.
And so we're gonna see the precise nature of Scripture, but better than that, we're gonna see the precise mind of God and scripture's precision serving a higher purpose. And the higher purpose of the precision of scripture is that we would come to believe in Christ. And that we would see the greatness of Christ and we would honour him and worship him as God and not think too low thoughts of him. That's why this text is here, that's why the scripture is here, the scripture is here to grab hold of our minds and our hearts, and lift them up into the heavenlies so that we can worship Christ. And in so doing, receive forgiveness of our sins that by faith in Christ, we will receive cleansing and forgiveness of our sins. And so we see not just the precision of scripture and the precision of God, but we're gonna see God as triune in this passage, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, as the scripture testifies to the true nature of God. We're gonna see all of these things today. So since we're gonna see all of those things we better get going, I mean this is all just introduction. But we have to get going, don't we? We're gonna be here a long time, but that's alright, that's alright. For this purpose, I think it's fine.
A Meticulous Savior: Every Iota and Dot Will Come to Fulfillment
Christ Came to Fulfill the Scriptures
So we serve a meticulous Saviour, earlier in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus talked about the scriptures. He did it in the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, and not a dot, will pass from the law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18. Now there Christ says very plainly, he had come to fulfill the Scriptures not to abolish them. There are going to be some things he's gonna say even in that Sermon on the Mount that seems like he's just knocking the scriptures aside, but he doesn't. He's come to fulfill the scriptures, and so he wants them to know his attitude toward the scriptures, so that we would have them too.
“Not an yodh or a pen stroke…”
And he zeroes in on this one statement: “Not a yodh or a pen stroke,” I think would be the way it comes across in the Hebrew, but it goes over in the Greek into iota. I think they're just related. Greek is iota for the Hebrew letter yodh.
Now the Hebrew letter yodh is just a little - it just looks like an apostrophe. If you could just imagine just a little apostrophe at the end of a possessive like “the boy's hat” something like that, just that little apostrophe you put between the y and the s. That's what the Hebrew yodh is. Just a little letter. It's used in the four-letter word for God, Yahweh, you see it all over the Hebrew text there and so that's a yodh.
He says none of those yodhs are gonna disappear until everything is accomplished, all the yodhs will still be there when Jesus returns. He's going to uphold them. So, dear friends, we as a church, we don't need to defend the scriptures, we don't need to defend the Bible. We have to take every thought captive and cast down strongholds and misunderstandings, but the Bible's gonna be here, friends. There's no getting rid of it. And so the yodhs are gonna be there, they're all gonna be there, until heaven and earth pass away, said Jesus.
And “the least stroke of a pen,” it could be the difference between a Hebrew letter he which is just an H-sound and the hech sound which gives that kind of Hebrew sound. The difference between the two is just a tiny gap. In one letter versus the other. And if they close that gap, it's a whole different letter.
And so I tell you, the precision of the alphabet and of the writing, I think, lended itself to a precision toward the Jews, the Jews themselves are a precise people in this regard, a remarkable people. They had a meticulous view of the Scriptures. And I think it tended in this direction, they knew that there were 613 commands in the Pentateuch, five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, and that 248 of them were positive, and 365 of them were negative. How did they know that? Well, they counted them, friends.
Oh, they knew more than that though. The scribes counted letters forward and back in the law of Moses, they could tell you how many of each letter there was in each book of the Bible. Amazing. They could even tell you the middle letter in the Pentateuch. And the middle letter in the Old Testament, middle letter in the Pentateuch, for those of you who really care is in Leviticus 11:42, there's a waw in there it's like a w right in the middle of the word for “belly.” So don't do it now, please, do it later. But there it is. That's the middle letter of the Pentateuch. How did they do that? They counted forward, they counted backwards, meticulous.
And you think Jesus would come along and say, “You're being way too careful with the scriptures here. You're way too meticulous.” No, He's actually even more meticulous than they, more careful than they. He's not dispensing with careful Bible study, not at all. He just said, “You missed some things. Let me show you something you've never noticed before.” That's what he's doing in this text. And he says that none of this, none of these letters or strokes of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law, until heaven and earth disappear, until everything is accomplished. The law is still going to be around, actually later in Matthew's Gospel, he's going to expand the statement to include his own words. “Until heaven and earth pass away,” He says. “My words will never pass away.” “Heaven and earth will pass away,” He says. “But my words will never pass away.” Well, Jesus here applies it to prophecy. He was very attentive to details, very careful in his handling of the text, and he's going to make an important point concerning the Messiah based on this one Hebrew letter this yodh.
Whose Son is the Christ?
So look at the verses, verses 41 through 46, that James read. Let me read them again. It's not a long passage, it says “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?’ ‘The Son of David,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘Well, how is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him “Lord”? For he says, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’” If then David calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’” I love verse 46. “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” That ends it, friends. That's a fitting end to chapter 22, don't you think? Jesus silences His enemies with this question.
Context: The Final Week of Jesus’ Life
The context we've been seeing is the final week of Jesus' life. Jesus' enemies keep mounting up a charge and coming up the hill after Jesus. They ask him questions about taxation, he deals with that remarkably. They ask him questions about the resurrection, the Sadducees do, he deals with that remarkably. An expert in the law comes and asks him which is the greatest commandment, and he deals with that again remarkably. Amazing teaching.
Jesus’ Penetrating Question
Then he turns around and he asks them a question, a penetrating question. Now Jesus is, I believe the greatest question asker in history, the greatest question asker in history. And if I can just get you to pause and think of it this way. Some day he's gonna ask you a bunch of questions about your life. He's going to probe you, he's going to search you. He's going to ask you to give an account for your life. And Job himself said “I couldn't answer him once in a thousand times.” Jesus has the ability by his questions to render us silent. And I think it's a good thing for that to happen now, don't you think? For us to be just rendered silent under the questions, the probing questions of Jesus to calm our hearts down and just let him search us by his questions.
But Jesus, from the very earliest stages of his life, was a phenomenal question asker. You remember that story, when he was age 12 and he somehow got separated from Joseph and Mary, you remember that? I mean, what happened there, friends? I mean, Joseph and Mary, I've often thought about, praise God for that. I mean these are a godly couple who lost track of the Messiah, the savior of the world. There are no perfect parents, friends, not even Joseph and Mary, they didn't know where Jesus was.
And so, for three days now, this isn't three hours now, for three days, they had to look for him. And they went and finally found Him in the temple, and it says in Luke 2:46 and 47, “After three days they found him in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” So Jesus was asking questions, maybe he even asked this one, he tried this one at an early stage and they didn't have an answer to that either. But he was a prober with his questions and so it continues. So often in his ministry, we see Jesus asking questions that gets to the heart of the issue.
For example, when his enemies were offended that Jesus had forgiven the sins of a paralyzed man, the man is still paralyzed; he has already forgiven his sins. He went right to what the man needed, “Take heart son, your sins are forgiven.” They were offended at that. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And Jesus said in Matthew 9:5. “I have a question for you. Which is easier: To say ‘your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘rise and walk’?” That's an interesting question, isn't it? Let that one rattle around in your soul for a while. They're both really easy to say, both really hard to do. And so Jesus shows his power there.
Or how about this one, to the legalistic Pharisees who are drilling him for not following their traditions, He asked them this, Matthew 15:3. “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” That's a question from Jesus. Or to his disciples in Caesarea Philippi: “What about you? Who do you say that I am?” Now there's an important question, isn't it? Who do you say that Jesus is? I tell you that your soul will depend on your answer from the heart.
Or this one, to two blind men sitting by the side of the road, calling out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.” Jesus went and stood in front of them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” That's an important question, isn't it? By the way, I use it all the time in evangelism. If I get to the point and somebody I think is ready to receive Christ, we've done everything, and they want... They say, “What should I do?” I say you should pray. What should I say? So, we've been talking for an hour. You ought to know what to ask him for. “What do you want him to do for you?” “Well, I wanna go to heaven.” “Then tell him.” “I want my sins forgiven.” “Then tell him.” “I wanna live a whole new kind of life.” “Then tell him.” And he'll answer those prayers. But he does stand in front of us and say what do you want me to do for you? It's a key question, isn't it?
To Jesus' enemies who are questioning him closely about his authority. “So I have a question for you and if you answer my question, then I'll answer yours. ‘John's baptism, where did it come from? Was it from heaven or from men?’” Then they had that little huddle. Trying to figure out what they're gonna do. A little strategizing session. Just answer the question, but they didn't wanna answer Jesus' question.
Now, we have this one in verse 42. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” That's the question. Now for the Jews, genealogies were incredibly important, they derived a huge amount of their self-esteem and their self-importance from being genealogically or physically descended from Abraham. John the Baptist dealt with this very strongly. Do not think, he said to the Scribes and Pharisees, Sadducees. He said, “Do not think you can say to yourselves ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham.” So they put a lot of stress on genealogies and descent.
Jesus’ Enemies Answer Quickly
I think they figured this was an easy question. This is a softball. Wow, what a tough question. Whose son is the Christ? They probably immediately answered “Son of David.” I mean, a four-year-old knows that one, Son of David. It's a cupcake. It was an easy question to answer.
Well, the Messiah was the Son of David. He was to be the Son of David. They were right, but that wasn't the whole truth. And we'll get to that in a moment, but it is true that Jesus the Christ was to be the Son of David. This was promised to David. 2 Samuel 7:12 and 13, when David wanted to build a temple for God and God said, you wanna build a house for me, I'm gonna build a house for you. “When your days are over David, and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me,aAnd I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Son of David, then. The Messiah would be the Son of David.
The Psalms and prophets agree with this again and again. Psalm 132:17-18, “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one,” that's the Messiah. “I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be resplendent,” Psalm 132. Jeremiah 23, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I'll raise up to David a righteous branch, and the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding and counseling, power. And this king will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. And in his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which this branch of David will be called: the Lord our Righteousness.’”
Or Ezekiel 37, “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd and they will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. And they will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. And I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it will be an everlasting covenant, and I will establish them and I will increase their numbers, and I'll put my sanctuary among them forever.” There's the word David right there in Ezekiel, centuries after David had died.
Hosea 3:4-5, “for the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. And afterward, the Israelites will return and seek the Lord, their God, and David their king. And they will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last day,” Hosea 3:4-5. And then finally Zechariah 13:1, “On that day, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”
Again and again we're told in the Old Testament through the prophets, that the Messiah is to be the Son of David. That is true. So this was an easy question. Very easy. Yes, but in Jesus' hand the other shoe is about to drop. Something they hadn't thought of before. As Jesus asked this question, “whose son is the Christ?”
Now, Jesus was in fact the Son of David. As a matter of fact, by my reading, it's the first fact the New Testament gives us. It's really quite stunning if you look at it, Matthew 1:1, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David,” right away. It's the first thing we're told about the Christ. He's the Son of David. That is true.
The apostle Paul makes it clear as well, in Romans 1. He speaks there of “the gospel of God - the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures regarding his son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David.” And so the Messiah was to be a human being. He was to be a human being, a descendant, tracing his genealogy from David. Yes, that is true.
Jesus in his lifetime was consistently called the Son of David and he never refuted it, he actually accepted it. After his triumphal entry, he goes into the temple and the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children, shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” And they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” They asked Jesus. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “Have you never read, ‘from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Jesus was the Son of David.
Jesus’ Goal: That They Would Acknowledge His Divine Sonship
But Jesus' point here is that he is so much more than that. Actually he's infinitely more than merely the Son of David. That's Jesus' point. That's the point of Psalm 110. That's the point of our text today. Jesus' goal is that they would acknowledge his divinity. His deity, that he is the Son of God, as well as the Son of David, that's the goal here. That's what he was driving them toward, and that's what I believe through the Spirit he's driving us toward here as well. And even if you acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, the text isn't done with you, it's still driving you upward to think greater thoughts of what that means, that Jesus is in fact the Son of God, and so he asks these devastating questions.
Jesus’ Devastating Next Questions
Yes, he is the Son of David, but “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ then how can he be his son?” Oops, we never noticed that before. Been reading it for years, never noticed it. “The Lord said to my Lord,” one word in the Hebrew, one little letter at the end makes it possessive, we'll get to that in a minute. Verse 46, no one could say a word in reply.
Jesus silenced them, and from that day they were afraid to come and bring those questions around. They came to make Him look bad, they always ended up looking bad themselves. Jesus ended up looking more glorious, more intelligent, more well thought out, more in connection with the people. A better servant of God. He always ended up looking better, they ended up looking worse.
Understanding Jesus’ Argument
Key #1: The Davidic Authorship of Psalm 110
Alright, now let's see if we can unravel Jesus' arguments. Let's try to find out what's at the heart of it. Alright, the first key to this whole thing is the Davidic authorship of Psalm 110, David wrote it. And I say to you, if David didn't write it then Jesus' argument falls apart. It's just a fact. If David didn't write Psalm 110 Jesus' argument falls to the ground.
Did Jesus think that David wrote Psalm 110? You better believe he thinks it. “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord,’” etc. “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” Did Jesus think David wrote this? That's a slam dunk friends, yes, Jesus clearly thought that David wrote Psalm 110. Absolutely central to the argument.
Now if the Psalm was written centuries later by someone who's seeking to honor David, the argument falls apart. Such a Jewish individual writing centuries later seeking to honor David would have had no problem calling one of David's sons “My Lord,” indeed, he would have been his lord, he would have been his king. That's not a problem. Jesus' argument falls apart if David didn't write it.
Key #2: The Inspiration of the Psalm (down to the “jot”) by the Holy Spirit
Key number two, the inspiration of the Psalm, down to the letter by the Holy Spirit. Okay, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?” This is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God, who came to guard David's mind from error, as he wrote Psalm 110.
And so we have the inerrancy or the perfection of the Scripture as essential key here, David could have written it but he could have been wrong to call him “My Lord.” And so he has to be protected, the scripture has to be protected from error. And so the second key is the Holy Spirit's involvement in the writing of the scripture, of the text.
By the way these first two keys are essential to all Old Testament scripture, and indeed new as well. Human authorship plus divine inspiration together. The Bible is a 100 percent human book, written by human authors. It is a 100 percent divine book, inspired from beginning to end by God, it's both. In that way it's very much like Jesus. 100 percent human, 100 percent divine. 2 Peter 1:20-21 figures this out for us, it says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture ever came about by the prophet's own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
So what happened? One day David got up and said, “Just a good day for writing scripture today, just, I mean it's just that kind of a day I just feel like writing some scripture.” No, he just wrote a Psalm. Do you think David had any reject Psalms? I bet he did. I think that year while he's waiting for Bathsheba to give birth to their child, I don't think he wrote any Psalms that made it in the Bible that year, I'm thinking. So I think there are lots of reject Psalms, but the Holy Spirit came on David that day, when he wrote Psalm 110, and the Holy Spirit said, if not directly to David, but at least to us the church, “Today I am writing scripture through you and everything you write will be perfect.” Doctrine of inspiration.
Key #3: The Fact that Psalm 110 Was Speaking About the Messiah
Key number three. Psalm 110 is speaking about the Messiah. It's talking about the Christ. Jesus had asked at the beginning of this is, “What do you think about the Christ?” The anointed one, the one who is to come? “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They answered “Son of David.” “Well then how is it that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?” And then quotes Psalm 110. So key to Jesus his argument is that David is speaking about the Messiah, the one who is to come. Frankly, this whole Psalm, if you read it, Psalm 110 is messianic. It has marvelous teachings about Christ. Frankly, if it's not messianic the whole Psalm makes no sense at all.
First of all, the question of this text is if David wrote it then about himself, then why would he call himself ‘Lord’? So it's certainly not about David. If someone else wrote it, about a descendant of David, who is not the Messiah, how do you explain the grandiose assertions made about him in this Psalm, like this one? Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, you are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Look, Hebrews spends basically three chapters dealing with the depth of that argument. Psalm 110 is very, very deep, it's clearly dealing with the messiah.
Key #4: The Fact that, Under the Laws of Moses, a Son is Never Greater than His Father
Key number four: The fact that under the law of Moses, a son could never be considered or esteemed higher or greater than his father. In the Ten Commandments, sons are commanded to honor their fathers. There's an order there, a hierarchy. A father then would never call his son, “My Lord,” certainly not a king to the prince. Even in the rare occasions where there'll be co-regency, the father would still have the greater honor.
So the logic of Jesus' question implies that the father is always seen to be greater than the son positionally. Again, this is not an essential being, like fathers are of greater essence than sons, not at all, the ground is very level before the cross, dear friends. But Jesus himself says this in that mysterious kind of way, John 14:28, “If you love me, you would be glad that I'm going to the Father for the Father's greater than I.” It's a mystery, but there's a position there, the father is greater than the son, the son receives things from the Father. That's how it works.
Key #5: Every Letter is Inspired… and David Calls Him “My Lord”
And key number five: Every letter in the Psalm is inspired and David calls him, “My lord.” As mentioned above, the whole argument comes down to a single letter in the Hebrew, the possessive yodh at the end of the word adon. The word adon means “Lord” or “master.” Adonai is the way that they make it possessive. My Lord, my master. You know, remember when Mary sees Jesus, resurrected Jesus she calls him Rabboni, the little i at the end is my, “my rabbi,” is what she's saying, “my master.” It makes it possessive. And so Jesus bases it on that possession.
Now the word adon, translated “Lord” can simply refer to a human master or a king. Anybody in authority over you, you could use that word adon, or it could refer to God. 1 Kings 1:24, Nathan said “Have you,” speaking to David, “have you, my lord,” That's adonai, “Have you My Lord [the king] declared that Adonijah shall be king after you and then he'll sit on your throne?” But he calls him adonai, “My lord.” You can do it for a human king. But it's also a common word for Lord, as in God as well. For example in Psalm 8:1. “Oh Lord [Yahweh], our Lord [adon]. There's the word. So, they're used just side by side, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” and many other examples as well.
How Can the Messiah Be His Son?
So in any case, why would David be calling his own son, his Master? Why would David, speaking by the Spirit, call his own descendant, my king? Why would he call him my Lord? That's Jesus' question. Do you feel the weight of it now?
Now there were many sons of David, actually it wasn't a big deal to be a son - actually it was, I mean, son of the king, it's a good thing to be a son of the king, but there were lots of them. And after that certainly lots of descendants, even in the New Testament, Joseph, the husband of Mary is called “Son of David,” by Gabriel. Gabriel comes and says, Angel the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.” He’s called “Son of David.”
Solomon is called “Son of David” in Proverbs 1:1. In 2 Samuel 13:1 you have it twice. “In the course of time Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.” So again, like I said, neither of those are like worthwhile people, neither Amnon nor Absalom, but they're both called “Sons of David.”
But there's only one of all of his sons, that David calls, “My Lord.” There's only one. And it is the Messiah. And how great is he, friends? How great is Jesus? How great is the majesty of this descendant of David? Well, in Revelation chapter five, there is in the right hand of God, a scroll which some have interpreted to be the title deed of the whole universe. Ownership of the universe, it's there in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. And there's this mighty angel calling out, “Who is worthy to take the scroll and break open its seals and read it?” Who is worthy to do that?" And they search heaven and earth and under the earth and no one is found who is worthy, and then suddenly, one comes. One of the elders - John as you remember weeps and weeps because nobody is found - he said, “Do not weep. Wait till you see what's about to happen.” Heaven is a happening place, friends, you don't want to miss it. I mean it's an exciting place.
And so one of the elders says, “Now, watch and see. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Root of David has conquered. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” And “Then I saw a lamb looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. And he had seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the 24 elders, they fell down before the Lamb.” You want to know where David is right now? He's on his face before his descendant Jesus. He's on his face before Jesus and he's worshipping him gladly. He's delighted to pour forth worship on his own descendant. He's worshipping him. At the end of the Bible, Revelation 22:16, almost the last verse in the Bible, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” Well, that's who Jesus is, and that's why David called him “My Lord,” though I don't think David fully understood it then. He understands it much better now. Amen? Much better now he understands. How much greater Jesus is than them.
Jewish Attempts at Answering Jesus… Millennia Later!
Central to Their Answer: The Psalm was Written About David, Not By David
Well, the Jews had no answer at that point. They've had 2,000 years to think about it and now they're trying to answer. I went to a website in which some Jewish rabbis are trying to prepare Jewish people to answer Christian evangelists, and they say, you know they might bring Psalm 110 around. Now, again, they've had 2,000 years to think it through. 2,000 years to work on this, they didn't have an answer that day but maybe now they have one.
Alright, you know what they say? It's right there on the website. They say that the inscription of the Psalm, just says le dawid which could be translated either “By David” or “For David,” could go either way. And so we think this Psalm was actually written in honor of David, you see.
Well, that does successfully destroy Jesus' argument, but there's no scriptural merit to it at all. They don't do that with the other Psalms that are ascribed to David, they know that David wrote some Psalms. By what rule would they come to Psalm 110, and say “Well, this one was written on behalf of David, not by David.” Besides which, between you and me, let's just go with Jesus on this one I think David wrote it. Amen? So that's no good argument, there's no proof for it.
Secondly: The Word “Adonai” can mean “Master” and Not “Lord”
Alright, what else do they say? Well, they say adonai can actually mean “Master,” or something not actually God or Lord like he's worshipping or anything. Maybe he's just esteeming him very highly. Again, this doesn't fit the Jewish mindset at all. Again, the father is greater than the son, this would never have happened. David, you can't imagine. Imagine David coming to Solomon after he had been crowned as a successor, then bowing down to Solomon and calling him “My Lord,” I can't imagine it, neither can the Jews, it doesn't fit, friends. That's after 2,000 years, that's the best they can do. Or else maybe there's another website with a better answer, I didn't find one.
Implications and Application
This Psalm Helps Prove the Deity and Humanity of Christ
So we'll just move on, shall we? There is no answer, except one. Can I give you this answer? Fall down on your face before Jesus and worship him. There's your answer. Fall down and acknowledge that he's God, he's not just a human being. He's God. And his deity and his humanity together coming into the world can save you from your sins, do that. Let that be your answer. And so this psalm helps prove the deity and humanity of Christ, as Gabriel said to Mary, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, and he will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” That's Son of God, friends, “and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” That's humanity friends, it's the Incarnation in one message from the ancient.
This Psalm also Teaches us How to Approach All OT Prophecy
The Psalm also gives us the proper relationship with David to Jesus, more on that in a moment. The Psalm also teaches us how to approach all Old Testament prophecy, the principles that Jesus assumes here are key for us throughout the study of the Old Testament. All Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, the scripture secondly should be read Christologically, try to find Jesus in the Bible, and you'll find him. Find Jesus, John chapter five, “You diligently study the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These scriptures testify about me,” said Jesus. So look for Jesus in the Old Testament.
Flee to Christ
Thirdly, scriptures should be taken letter by letter accurately. Precision always helps you friends. Look carefully. We should also be praising God for the accuracy of the Bible, Amen. You can build your life on this. This is a solid rock that isn't going away. It's still here thousands of years later and it will continue to be here. Praise God even more for the greatness of God himself, for the greatness of the precise mind of God and the way he communicates. He has so many more things to teach us. We'll spend eternity learning from God. And praise God for that.
Conversely, can I urge you: fear, fear judgment by such a meticulous God, fear it. Revelation 20 and verse 12, “I saw the dead, small and great standing before the throne and the books were opened, and another book was open, which is the book of life and the dead were judged according to what they have done as recorded in the books.” He is a meticulous record keeper of your life. And you can't survive that judgment without Jesus' atoning blood. So can I urge you to come to the cross. Look to Jesus, say, “Jesus I don't have a hope, unless you died for me. Oh that you would give me your righteousness as a gift, I plead with you, forgive me,” and he will. And then your name will be in the book of life, and you will not be judged based on your sins, but based on Christ's righteousness and his covenant with you by faith. Trust in Him.
Little Things Matter…Bigger Things Matter More
Flee to Christ, and having fled to Christ, can I urge you to be more careful how you live, than you've been? Little things matter friends, this is a precise God and we need him to live precise lives. We get sloppy don't we? Don't we get sloppy in our lives? We let our thoughts go sloppy and we let our actions go sloppy, we get lazy in our spiritual disciplines.
We serve a precise God, like the Puritans did, and he's no less precise now than he was then. He is a precise God and so “Be very careful how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity,” Ephesians 5. Very careful the life you live.
Think Great Thoughts About Jesus
And finally, I want to end the way I began. I just want to say sweetly to you, with joy in my heart. This actually brings me joy to tell you this, and I speak it to myself too. Your thoughts and mine, our thoughts about Jesus are too low. They're too small. So I wanna invite you on a marvelous upward journey of thinking great thoughts about Jesus. For the last one or two minutes of this sermon I just wanna compare Jesus to David. Okay, let's just compare them.
When we first meet David he was ruddy and handsome. Good looking young boy. Jesus, I tell you, will be the most beautiful sight you've ever seen in your life. It's kind of like all beauty emanates from Christ, He is the radiance of God's glory, it's gonna shine from him. And just the sight of it is gonna change you for eternity, you'll lose your sin nature as soon as you see him.
Alright, then we see David, as a young shepherd boy taking care of his father's sheep. And you remember how he killed the lion and the bear with the sling and all that kind of thing. Jesus has done infinitely better than that. He cares for the sheep as a Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. And not one of them is lost. He is better, a better shepherd than David.
David was chosen from among Jessie's sons and anointed before his brothers to be king over Israel by Samuel. But Jesus was chosen by God before the foundation of the world, to be King of the Universe, and was anointed not by oil, but by the Holy Spirit of God. That's why he's called the Christ, the Anointed One.
David courageously fought and defeated Goliath. He was an enemy that everyone was afraid to face. And he won. Jesus defeated the world, the flesh, the devil, sin and death. Enemies that none of us could face. And won an infinitely greater victory, and the spoils from David's victory over the Philistines lasted for just a little while. We get the spoils from Jesus' victory and they last for all eternity. He just gives better gifts than David did.
David was persecuted by Saul out of jealousy for a short period of time. I don't know anybody persecuting David now. Are they still persecuting Jesus? Oh yes they are. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Said Jesus. They've been after Jesus for 2,000 years. They still hate him, and they're still slandering him and taking his name in vain and doing all kinds of stuff, they still hate Jesus because Satan hates Jesus, he's been persecuted still, but the amazing thing about Jesus is how gracious he is. If you just turn, if you just repent, he will accept you. All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me, I will never drive them away, I'll just take them, even if it's Saul of Tarsus who's been hating on me for a while. He'll take him. That's the graciousness. “Any sin and blasphemy spoken against the Son of Man will be forgiven,” said Jesus. Isn't that marvelous?
David eventually became king over Judah and then had to fight for it but became king over Israel. Jesus is King of kings, friends. He's the King of all kings, not just over little Judah and Israel. David reigned for 33 years, how long will Jesus reign? For eternity, forever and ever. He will reign on that throne. David ruled imperfectly but with a sense of being a man after God's own heart, with judgment and righteousness, but he still sinned, and because of his sin, some people had to die in a plague. Jesus, he's a perfect King, everything he does is right. Everything he does is righteousness. He's a perfect exemplar of righteousness and justice on the throne.
David sinned with Bathsheba, and had Bathsheba's husband murdered, Uriah, to cover up his sin. Two things. Jesus never sinned, ever. But Jesus shed his blood for David so David wouldn't have to go to Hell for that sin. He died for David's sin, so that David could actually be up in heaven in one of those concentric circles around Jesus worshipping and praising him.
David eventually died and was buried and his body decayed. Jesus died for our sins, was buried, but on the third day he rose again, and he never decayed and his body ascended up and it's at the right hand of Almighty God and there he will be forever and ever. Jesus is just better than David, Amen? And David knows it doesn't he? Knows it now, doesn't he? And so he says still, “My Lord.” Won't you call him your Lord? Close with me in prayer.