In one of those slam dunk moments, Jesus quizzes the Pharisees: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
“Piece of cake,” they imply. “The Son, that is the Descendant, of David.” Any Jew with two brain cells functioning knew this. When Messiah, the Christ, finally came, He would be a Descendant from the family tree of Israel’s greatest king, King David. God had promised David an everlasting king on an everlasting throne in an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7). Everyone knew that the Christ would be the Son of David. That’s why it was like fingernails on a chalkboard to the Jewish leaders when blind Bartimaeus cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” and when the crowds on Palm Sunday chanted: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
So, says Jesus, “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.’ ”
Note how casually Jesus says, “David, speaking by the Spirit.” Jesus does not spend a lot of time on it – the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible. He simply assumes it and quotes it. He is quoting Psalm 110. King David wrote Psalm 110 a thousand years before Jesus was born. Psalm 110 is quoted or alluded to in the New Testament more than 30 times – more than any other psalm – more than any other passage of the Old Testament. The apostle Peter includes this psalm in his Pentecost sermon in today’s text.
So again, says Jesus: “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.’ ” Here Jesus does a slam-dunk: “If then David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how can He be his Son?” Silence. Dead silence. From that day no one dares to ask Him any more questions.
How could David’s Descendant be greater than Israel’s greatest? How is it that King David calls a Descendant of his, not even born yet, his Lord and Master – as in, “The LORD said to my Lord,” that is, to David’s Lord? David can say this only if this very human descendant of David is also God Himself.
Because our King is both God and Man in one Person, He is able to defeat our enemies and lead us to eternal victory. Only One who is God Himself could make His payment count for every soul from Adam to Judgement Day. Only One who is God could do battle with sin, death and the devil himself and win. Only One who is God could make death work itself backward. And yet – only as true Man could He keep God’s law perfectly in our place, be nailed to the cross as our Substitute, bleed and die. The death of Jesus is the death of God Himself, the blood of God Himself – for in the Person of Christ, He who is both God and Man died and rose again…for David and us.