The Identity of the Messiah

Psalms

Reading the Word

Matthew 22:41–46 (ESV)

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44 “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet” ’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Parallel Texts: Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44

Understanding and Applying the Word

After receiving multiple questions from the religious leaders, Jesus asked one of his own. He quizzed the leaders about the identity of the promised Messiah. Jesus asked, “Whose son is he?” The response of the Pharisees was that the Messiah was David’s son, which was true on one level. However, Jesus went on to ask why David would call the Messiah his “Lord” if the Messiah was David’s son. Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1 to make his point, which was a psalm written by David and speaking of the Messiah.

The reason for Jesus’ question was to point out that while the Messiah was a son of David, he was also more than that. David himself points to this truth in a psalm he wrote “in the Spirit.” That David was in the Spirit tells us that his words were Scripture and authoritative truth given by God. The Messiah would also be the Son of God. This would make him David’s Lord. Jesus is that Lord.

Many in Jesus’ day had their own idea of what the Messiah would be and what he would do. Jesus was not the Messiah they expected and he tried frequently to help the people see from the Scriptures that they were mistaken. Some heard Jesus and recognized him as the promised Messiah. Many were never able to accept that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. We must be willing to turn to the Scriptures to see what they say about this matter. Read the four Gospels with an eye on how Jesus fulfills the Messianic promises. He is the one the world has been waiting for.

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The Lord Says to My Lord

Philippians 29–11 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 110:1–7 (ESV)

A Psalm of David. 1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” 2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! 3 Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. 4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. 7 He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus quotes this psalm in Mark 12:36-37:

David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Jesus points out that David, the king of Israel, calls another one “my Lord.” How could David, the king of Israel, refer to another as his Lord? The answer is that there would be a descendant from David who would be greater than David. Of course, that descendant is Jesus himself, the divine King of Israel. The remainder of the psalm speaks of Jesus’ reign and judgment over the nations.

Jesus is the promised King (i.e. Messiah) of the line of David. However, Jesus is not just any king. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is God in the flesh. He is the divine ruler of all creation whose kingdom will never end. And he will judge the nations with righteousness and justice. In the end, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

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