Jesus is still in the temple in Jerusalem. He has been approached by the chief priests, the Pharisees, the Pharisees’ disciples, the Herodians, the Sadducees, and finally a lawyer from among the Pharisees. He has “run the gauntlet” of testing from them. Now it is Jesus’ turn to ask the questions.
The Pharisees have regrouped after their last question so Jesus addresses His question to them as a whole. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (verse 42). The Pharisees’ immediate reply was, “The son of David.”
The Pharisees knew the scripture about their Messiah’s lineage. He was to be descendant of David. This much they were sure of. They also knew that Jesus fulfilled this requirement. They were not ascribing to Him the title of Christ, but the people were.
Next Jesus takes them deeper into the scriptures than they ever had gone before. Just like He did with the Sadducees when He pointed out God’s exact words and meaning, He points to one of David’s psalms. This psalm was part of the Torah and was known to be inspired by God Himself. Of this the Pharisees had no doubt. But now they would see it in a new light.
Jesus starts off by identifying that David was in the Spirit when he makes his pronouncement. Meaning that David was being directly influenced by God’s Holy Spirit, leaving no room for doubt as to the veracity and authority of what David said. “’The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’” (verse 44). This conversation being recorded is between The Lord, Father God, and His Son, Jesus the Christ. After Jesus finishes His work on Earth, His Father tells Him to sit down at His right hand and wait until God completes the rest of the work; i.e. subduing all Jesus’ enemies. Then it will be the time for Jesus to begin His reign on Earth.
I don’t know how the Pharisees originally viewed this passage. I’m thinking they might have thought of it as God talking to David and promising to put David’s enemies under his feet, but the depth and breadth of the rest of the psalm didn’t happen in David’s life. It would only be fulfilled by the Christ. Jesus just blew the minds of the Pharisees! How do they answer back to that? The Pharisees and all the other religious leaders withdrew at this point and would not question Jesus again until after they arrested Him.
Jesus, in His daily walk never claimed to be the Christ, until the very last when He admitted it before the High Priest at His trial. Mark tells us that during the final moments of His trial before the High Priest, Jesus was asked directly if He was the Christ. Jesus answered, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven” (Mark 14:62). Until this moment, Jesus had let His works and His words speak the truth for Him. Peter, through the Holy Spirit, had also confirmed that Jesus was the Christ when directly asked by Jesus (Matt. 16:16). Jesus told His disciples at this point not to proclaim that publicly. Why? Because Jesus’ statement of that fact would be the straw that broke the camel’s back in regards to pushing the religious leaders into fulfilling the last part of God’s plan; actually condemning Jesus to death.
Did Jesus new take on this well know scripture revealed another new truth? Did the High Priest see God as a triune being before Jesus delved into this verse; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Were they expecting their Messiah to be a regular man, like Moses had been, or did they know the Christ would actually be the Son of the Living God? In Mark again, where Jesus is questioned by the High Priest during His trial, the High Priest asks Jesus if He is “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” (Mark 14:61), is the High Priest offering a newly revealed truth or the firmly accepted belief? Would the High Priest’s assertion of the Christ’s lineage be based on Jesus’ comments today?
What belief does Israel hold in present day about the actual personage of the Christ? We know they are still waiting for their Messiah. Are they waiting for a man or the Son of God? In Jesus they had both, which may have been why they refused so strongly to accept Him. How else could ALL the prophecies of the Messiah have been fulfilled unless He was both? Sounds like they are stuck in a “Catch 22” here. Their long awaited Messiah can’t be real unless he fulfills ALL the prophecies, but he can’t fulfill the prophecies unless he is both God and man. The epitome of the TRUE Messiah who already came.
Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to be our Messiah, our Christ. None other would ever be able to do the work He did for us. Thank You that You keep some things hidden for a time and a purpose. Thank You that You also reveal what is necessary at just the right time. Thank You for leaving no doubt as to who Jesus actually was and is. Thank You for Your perfect timing. You knew just when to reveal the truth. You are right on time every time.
Thank You that You are right on time in my life too. So many times I wanted You to hurry up and move in my life, but You waited. AFTER it was all said and done, I realized that Your waiting was what made everything work out exactly as You had planned and in the best possible way for me. If You had moved on my timeline, who knows what disaster would have resulted. Thank You that no matter how much I whine, You hold firm to Your plans for my life. I’m sorry for all my whining. I don’t have Your patience or Your perspective, but I have faith in You. I have to rest in that when I get too anxious. Please remind me of this the next time I start to whine.