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Three Conversations with Jesus

Jesus responds to three questions while teaching in the Temple at Jerusalem.

Written by David Steltz on .

Notes

Matthew 22:15-46

‌Introduction

‌Good morning! Happy April, and happy Palm Sunday!

Today, we continue in Matthew chapter 22, picking up in verse 15.

Recap

‌In chapter 21, we read about Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey in the tradition of kings and fulfilling prophecy, and greeted with praise and adoration.

Jesus’s ride into Jerusalem, his donkey’s hooves treading on soft coats and robes and palm leaves, thrown down by people in the road in reverence to their king, is an event many Christians commemorate on this day, the Sunday before Easter, when we celebrate his resurrection from the dead.

When you think about it, that makes Palm Sunday a rather bitter-sweet memorial. It’s great to think about a victorious entry with a warm welcome, and it’s great to think about his victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. But events must clearly take a turn during that week of time in between those two Sundays! 

He goes from being worshipped in the streets...to being flogged and killed...to being raised up in glory...all in the span of a week!

These last few chapters of Matthew, all the way to the end of chapter 28, pretty much all take place within that week!

A lot happens during that time, and Jesus goes from a pretty popular, loved, and followed guy to a pretty hated, feared , and avoided guy, pretty quickly.

How does that happen?

Well, It’s certainly the hardness of people’s hardness of hearts, willful ignorance of the truth...pride, greed, and general sinfulness of humanity that leads to Christ’s crucifixion.

But at the same time, Jesus certainly makes no attempt to placate his enemies, does he? He says and does things which cause even more fear and resentment from the religious leaders, who will in turn eventually incite the crowds against him.

In Chapter 21, Jesus enters Jerusalem, goes to the temple, and chastises the merchants for being there. He causes quite a scene driving them out, then he settles in to teach and preach in the temple.

Everything he says, though it may humiliate and anger the religious leaders, he doesn’t do it just for the sake of upsetting them. He’s speaking the truth out of a love for people and a desire for them to know the truth; to know him, and by knowing him know the Father. It is those who are unwilling to see past themselves, unwilling to set aside their pride, who become upset and enraged by this truth, rather than being humble and learning from Jesus.

In the middle of chapter 21, the chief priests and elders challenge Jesus’s authority, and Jesus responds with 3 different parables, which Mike covered last week, ending with the parable of the wedding feast at the beginning of chapter 22.

Those parables are very pointed critiques, condemning the priests, the elders, the pharisees, and they can see that! They get it, and it infuriates them, but they are too afraid to do anything about it, because they see how many people still regard him highly, as a prophet of Yahweh, and are therefore willing to follow him. The Jewish leaders are afraid that Jesus might turn the crowds against them.

That tension is going to continue in chapter 22, with people repeatedly trying to find fault with Jesus, and without having any real faults or crimes, trying to trick him or trap him into saying something that they could use against him.

And yet, every time, Jesus will outwit them. Even in the most heated, nasty interactions, Jesus demonstrates greater patience, greater wisdom, and greater understanding of scripture than any of his challengers.

Today's Study

Today, we’ll look at a few of the last interactions in Matthew that Jesus has with the religious leaders, before the last section of preaching and teaching in Matthew.

‌In this passage, Jesus is going to rather decidedly shut down the Pharisees and Sadducees, in that they will be left with no further logical argument, or scriptural argument, to use against Jesus. 

This will eventually force them to turn to more devious and shady conspiracy against him, and we’ll see that in a few chapters later.

But I love this section, because it’s an exposition of Jesus’s wisdom, tactfulness, and understanding of scripture. And it’s sort of a finale to the sparring match Jesus has been having with these groups of leaders. 

Over the course of these next three conversations that we’ll look at today, he basically shuts them up, gets them out of the way, so he’ll be able to carry on and continue his teaching in the temple.

And let me tell you, it’s no small feat to shut these people up! These are people who like to be seen, heard, obeyed, and followed. So, how does Jesus get them to finally leave him alone, if only temporarily, so that HE can be seen, heard, obeyed and followed?

Again, we’re going to look at three conversations today, and these come fresh on the heals of Jesus confronting the priests and elders in the temple, who questioned his authority.

He’s now going to be confronted by some followers of the Pharisees and of Herod, then by the Sadducees, then finally by the Pharisees themselves.

1. Render Unto Caesar (vs. 15-22)

Let’s start by reading the first conversation, beginning in verse 15:

Passage

‌Matthew 22:15–22 CSB
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to trap him by what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You don’t care what anyone thinks nor do you show partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 Perceiving their malicious intent, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked them. 21 “Caesar’s,” they said to him. Then he said to them, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

‌Disciples & Herodians (vs. 15-16)

‌OK, let’s start by looking at who is confronting Jesus here.

Who is asking this question about paying tax to Caesar?

We’re told in verse 15 that the Pharisees got together to work on a plan to trap Jesus. Specifically, to trap him in his words.

So, right away, we know the motive behind the question that is ultimately brought to Jesus. It’s not out of a genuine interest to learn from Jesus, or out of simple curiosity regarding his viewpoint on a specific topic. Their motive is one of malice and slander.

Then, in verse 16, we learn that the Pharisees don’t even have the gumption or  courage to approach Jesus themselves! I guess it could be that they were just lazy, but either way, they send their disciples, their students to Jesus.

But it’s not just them, is it? Who do the Pharisee’s disciples go with?

The Herodians. Or “supporters of Herod.”

There is not much other mention of this group of people outside of this story, but this would have been more of a political affiliation than religious. Remember, the Herodian dynasty was a family of Jewish rulers who were put in place by the Roman empire. They acted as local authorities for the Jews, and lived like kings compared to the rest of the Jews.

On one hand, you can imagine some Jews would resent the Herods for their loyalty to Rome, while on the other hand, at least they are Jewish! And, in theory, Herod would be in a position represent the Jews to the rest of the Roman Empire, and champion important issues on behalf of the Jews, while providing leadership and governance to resolve local issues, from a perspective that shared their cultural and religious history.

Of course, Herod is not portrayed in nearly so positive or gallant a light, and the whole family was honestly a disgusting mess, but still it is understandable to see how some Jews would be more comfortable saying they are loyal to Herod, a Jewish authority, than Caesar, the Roman emperor, even if loyalty to Herod ultimately did imply loyalty to Rome as well.

The bottom line is that the political situation between Jerusalem and Rome was tense, to say the least, and the presence of these Herodians when approaching Jesus with this question would have only served to make the situation all the more volatile. They’re trying to set Jesus up to offend and incite somebody, whether the Jews or Romans, whether religious or political, they figure this must plunge him into controversy no matter how he answers.

The Flattery (vs. 16)

‌Notice, too, how they try to butter him up before asking the question. In verse 16, they call him “Teacher,” they declare him to be “truthful” and a “teacher of truth” and of “the way of God.” They say he’s impartial, unbiased, uninfluenced by popular opinion and unconcerned with status or fame.

Think about this; these people are an assortment of the Pharisees’ students, and some members of Herod’s party. But they haven’t introduced themselves this way, so their assumption might be that Jesus has no idea who they are, what their intentions are, or who sent them to him. Starting off with this gushing declaration of how great a teacher Jesus is, and begging to know his thoughts on this topic, is honestly a very smart and manipulative move!

Many teachers, good teachers even, can easily fall susceptible to flattery, and in their pride talk themselves into a trap.

That’s what their goal was! And I’ll say it was a very good attempt.

The Question (vs. 17)

So, what’s the question they ask? In verse 17 we get their question:

Is it lawful to give tax to Caesar, or not?

in other words,

‌Does Torah permit paying taxes to the Roman Emperor or not?

‌The cleverness of this question is that, generally speaking, it was one of those questions that gets you in trouble no matter how you answer it! 

To answer “yes!” would be to imply support of the Roman empire, which would not be popular among the Jews. How could they get behind a new “king” who would be no different than Herod?

To answer “no” would incriminate him as a dissident against the Romans, deepening Roman distrust of him in fear of a Jewish uprising against the Romans in Jerusalem and beyond.

So, again, their assumption is that no matter how Jesus answers this question, he’s going to be in trouble with one party or the other. Their mistake is in thinking Jesus will approach this as a “yes or no” question, the way they posed it.

He doesn’t.

‌I’m not sure if Jesus ever gives a simple “yes or no” question in any of the gospel accounts! He was not someone to give direct, simple answers. So, honestly his answer is very much the type of answer we’ve come to expect from Jesus by now.

Hypocrites (vs. 18)

‌And, as always, his response is informed by their intent.

Had their motive truly been one of genuine interest in his opinion, and a desire to learn from him, then maybe Jesus would have answered a little differently. We don’t know.

But we do know that Jesus wasn’t caught up in their flattery. He saw past their flowery words. Verse 18 says “He saw their malicious intent” He “knew their wickedness.”

He was fully aware of who they were and what they were doing. Once again, Jesus was far more perceptive and wise than they were expecting.

In fact, he straight up calls them out, before even answering the question.

He calls them hypocrites! “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?”

What is a hypocrite?

We talked about this word when it first came up early on in Matthew. Today, the word “hypocrite” is really only used in a negative sense. It’s never a compliment to cal someone a hypocrite. And that’s really because of how Jesus used the term in situations like this one.

In English, a hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another. Teaches that you should live in a certain way, do certain things, say certain things, and yet their own life demonstrates the opposite.

The word comes from Greek, and, in Jesus’s day simply meant “actor,” as in a stage actor. Someone who would wear a mask, pretend to be someone else, and put on a show.

In that context, it was simply a descriptive word, with neither positive nor negative connotations. There’s nothing inherently wrong with acting on stage; it can be a wonderful work of art, performed as unto the Lord.

However, the people Jesus called hypocrites were not on a stage, they were not actors by vocation. The people who Jesus called hypocrites were putting on a mask, a facade of spiritual piety. They were literally faking an interest in Jesus’s opinion. They didn’t care about his opinion, they just cared that it would get him in trouble.

And that’s why Jesus calls them fakes.

“You fakes! Why are you testing me?”

Caesar’s Things & God’s Things (vs. 19-22)

He could have just left it there, couldn’t he? At that point, he had called them out as being disingenuous, and was under no implicit obligation to answer them further. He could have ignored them, ordered them to go away, driven them out with a whip like he did the merchants…but he didn’t!

‌He says “show me the tax coin.” “Show me what you use to pay taxes.”

‌And they bring him a denarius.

This isn’t the first time Jesus has been brought a denarius, is it?

Back in chapter 17, Jesus faced a very similar question, in that case regarding the temple tax, which was also paid with a denarius, a day’s wage for a typical laborer or soldier.

In this case, the question is a bit different, because it concerns not just the affairs of the Jewish temple within their own laws and practices, but payment to a foreign entity, a foreign emperor.

So, they show Jesus the denarius, and he asks them a question:

“Who’s image and inscription is on there?”

Of course, they answer with the obvious “It’s Caesar’s.”

Currencies of Earth’s Kingdoms

‌The coins bore the likeness of Caesar, along with an inscription proclaiming Tiberius to be “the son of the divine Caesar who preceded him.”

This is a moment of true irony, to imagine Jesus either holding or looking at this coin, proclaiming some Roman clown to be the son of the divine, while Jesus himself is the true son of the true God of the universe.

And yet, Jesus transforms this moment from inevitable confrontation and controversy, into a non-confrontational revelation which confounds them.

‌He says “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give God what belongs to God.”

It’s a simple statement, and yet they leave him astonished!

Though concise, this statement has several profound implications in this context.

First of all, he’s separated Caesar from God as being distinct from each other, meaning he does not recognize Caesar’s divinity.

But he does recognize that this round piece of metal was produced and distributed by Caesar, as part of a currency (which itself is an arbitrary concept) that was defined and controlled by the Roman empire. 

Currency is created and controlled by humans, and it belongs to humans. It serves a purpose, and is not inherently good or bad, though it can certainly be used in either way, to bless and provide for others or to oppress and benefit from others at their expense.

The Roman empire was certainly oppressive. And yet, Jesus does not suggest rebelling against the governing authorities when it came to paying taxes. After all, they were just giving back something that came from Rome in the first place! Under Roman rule, despite many hardships, the Jews were not prevented from worshipping their God, they were not deported to another country like they were in exile, they still had their city, their temple, their religious leaders, and even Herod, a Jewish governor to act as sort of a king within the umbrella of Roman rule.

‌They weren’t prevented from following Torah, from eating kosher, from praying daily, attending synagogue, following all the conditions of God’s covenant with Moses, all the teachings of the law and the prophets.

This is not the situation of  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), who were commanded by their captors NOT to worship Yahweh, but refused to comply no matter the consequence.

Paying taxes does not prevent one from worshipping God (though it may distract us from doing so!) And there was no reasonable way for the Jews to change their situation without resorting to violence and insurrection. That’s what a lot of people expected from Jesus, but that’s not what he came for.

It’s not that he’s condoning oppressive regimes, there are plenty of Old Testament passages which speak against the evils of tyranny, and which promise redemption for the oppressed. And God loves to use his people to bring relief  to those who need it. The church should be concerned and active in issues of social justice, health, poverty, and education, in our communities and all throughout the world.

And yet, we also recognize that it will continually be an ongoing struggle until God’s Kingdom is fully realized, sin and death pass away for good, and God reigns as the one true emperor, king of the universe.

Currency of God’s Kingdom

‌Which is why Jesus doesn’t just leave his answer with “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” or “Give to Caesar’s what belongs to him.”

He follows it up with “Give to God what belongs to God!”

And this is where it gets truly profound! If his inquisitors weren’t already astonished by this point, this last comment surely would be what sent them over the edge!

Again, this undermines the concept of Caesar being divine, but more than that, it invites the question of “What belongs to God?”

If Roman coins belonged to Caesar, what belongs to God?

What do you think?

‌The coins bore the image of Caesar, therefore rendering them as belonging to Caesar and his dominion.

So, let me ask you this: What bears the image of the living God? What is stamped with the image of Yahweh, the creator of all things?

‌Well, all of creation bears the mark of the creator, the strokes of his brush, and the whole universe declares his Glory, from galaxies to subatomic particles, and everything in between.

But we’re told in Genesis that one member of creation was chosen as a crowning jewel, to explicitly bear the image of Yahweh to the rest of creation. A divine currency, if you will, to rule the rest of the earth on which they were put, as ambassadors, representatives of the creator.

Have you ever thought of yourself as currency before?

It’s certainly not a perfect metaphor, and I don’t want you to read too far into it. It’s not that humans are objects to be used as payment in some kind of divine transactions.

But, as has been previously implied by parables in Matthew, humans are the prized possession, highly valued in God’s eyes. 

When we talk about the kingdom of God, we’re talking not about walls and castles, we’re talking about people. When we talk about storing up treasure in heaven, we’re not talking about gold coins, we’re talking about people.

Really, everything belongs to God. 

Deuteronomy 10:14 LSB
14 “Behold, to Yahweh your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.

‌But more specifically, all people belong to God, and have equal value as bearers of God’s image. Including Caesar! 

Jesus had hit them with a truth that was so deeply rooted in Scripture that they couldn’t deny it, and while doing so managed to redirect their attention to the kingdom of God and to the value of people rather than money, and assert God’s authority over Caesar, undermining Caesar’s claim to divinity but not advocating for disobedience or revolt against him.

It left them with no further argument! Nothing left to say.

2. Sadducees (vs. 23-33)

That was the group of people sent by the Pharisees.

The next group that comes to challenge Jesus is a group called the “Sadducees.” They were a smaller, but still influential sect of Jewish leadership, who differed from the Pharisees in that they believed that ones humans die, physically, they completely cease to exist. That there is no resurrection, no “after-life” as we may call it…no eternal existence of a soul, spirit, consciousness, and no physical form other than the one we experience once, in this life on earth.

‌Jesus of course disagrees with this view, having claimed multiple times that he himself will be raised from the dead, and offering eternal life to those who follow him! The Sadducees, knowing how influential Jesus is, are hoping to outwit Jesus and show their view as superior to his and the Pharisees’.

They’re going to present Jesus with a rather convoluted and outlandish, yet plausible scenario, in an attempt to throw a logical wrench in the logic of eternal life.

Passage

‌Matthew 22:23–33 NLT
23 That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ 25 Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. 26 But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. 27 Last of all, the woman also died. 28 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” 29 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. 30 For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 “But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” 33 When the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching.

‌Resurrection Question (vs. 23-28)

‌Essentially, if I were to paraphrase the question the way someone were to ask it today, it would be something like “What if one woman is married to seven different men throughout her life, but never has kids with any of them.”

Now, this question may seem rather absurd to us, because it doesn’t make much since in our cultural context.

To understand it, you have to understand that women at that time, in a patriarchal culture, relied on men. They would go from their father to a husband, who would provide for her and give her children. And they would hope for sons to take care of her after her husband died. A widow left with no husband and no children would have to resort to begging and charity from others.

Mind you, this culture is described in scripture, not because it is ideal, it’s just the way it was, and a lot of it was a result of sin and pride.

When God provided the law through Moses, there were specific protections for women to prevent women from becoming desolate and abandoned. One of those provisions was that if a woman’s husband died before she had children, then the brother of the deceased would have the obligation of providing children to her, who would then take on the name of the dead husband so his name could live on. 

You can find that particular command in Deuteronomy 25, verses 5-10

I know it sounds really weird to us, and honestly, it’s even weirder if you read the whole passage. It does make sense if you do some homework, but I don’t want to go too deep into the rabbit hole of the details of it today, because it’s not that relevant to our passage in Matthew. The bottom line is that there was a command that existed with the purpose of providing for women and preserving the legacy and lineage of every family in every tribe of Israel.

The Sadducees are pulling this command completely out context, to present an oddly specific hypothetical scenario, in an attempt to stump Jesus, using scripture against him.

Schooled by Scripture (vs. 29-33)

‌Of course, Jesus turns it around and instead schools them with scripture. In verse 29, he straight up says “You don’t understand the scriptures.” Actually, he says “You do not know the scriptures. OR the power of God!” “You are ignorant of the Tanakh!” I mean, what a slap in the face!

I wonder how long it took for them to come up with that scenario, thinking they had such a clever question for Jesus.

He first answers them by briefly explaining there will be no need for marriage in the resurrection. There will be no need for procreation, no need for anyone to rely on the labor or generosity or mercy of others, because all needs will be provided for by Yahweh himself. Their question is completely irrelevant, and illogical in the context of the resurrection; the new creation; the kingdom of heaven.

Then, Jesus addresses the REAL issue…the underlying controversy behind their question.

He knows that what they’re really after, what they really care about is NOT what will happen to the woman who had no kids with the seven brothers. It’s about whether or not believing in a resurrection holds up logically and theologically according to scriptures.

In verse 31 he says “As for the resurrection…haven’t you read?”

Again, a rather insulting insinuation that they haven’t read their bibles.

“As for the real question, try reading your bible sometime!”

Have you not read what God said? “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob?”

God said this in Exodus to Moses, in the present tense. He didn’t say “I was the God of Abraham...” He said “I am.”

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob continue to exist, and God continues to claim them as his children, then who are you to say otherwise?

We’re not told exactly how the Sadducees respond to this, but we know the crowds at large were, again, astonished, and word spread about Jesus’s uncanny ability to use scripture to explain even the most complex and contentious topics in a wise, humble, and patient manner.

3. Pharisees (vs. 34-46)

The Pharisees caught wind of all this and got together again. This time, they weren’t going to send their students, they had one of their own approach Jesus to ask one more question:

‌Passage

Matthew 22:34–46 CSB
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” 41 While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “David’s.” 43 He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’: 44 The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet’? 45 “If David calls him ‘Lord,’ how, then, can he be his son?” 46 No one was able to answer him at all, and from that day no one dared to question him anymore.

‌Commandment Confrontation (vs. 34-40)

‌So, the question, in verse 36, is a fairly concise one: “Which command in the law is the greatest?”

Again, this question was not posed out of genuine interest in learning from Jesus, but rather to discredit him and create controversy.

The question reflects an ongoing attempt among ancient Jewish legal experts to prioritize the commandments of the law, and they would have debates as to whether certain ones were “light” or “weighty.” Other, more strict Jews, saw all commandments as equally binding.

So, again, it is meant as a question with no good question in that any answer has the potential to offend someone or undermine his credibility and knowledge of scripture or of contemporary debates and discussions on the law.

And in this case, Jesus does actually give a somewhat straightforward answer. He doesn’t reply with a question or with a riddle. He actually replies by quoting a command from Deuteronomy 6, part of what they would have known as the shema which they would have recited multiple times a day.

Deuteronomy 6:5 LSB
5 “You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

‌He follows up by quoting a less popular, but similar command, found in Leviticus chapter 19.

‌“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

‌Jesus says that all the rest of the commands in the law and prophets depend on those two: loving God and loving others. Fully and completely, with everything you are, selflessly and humbly. 

‌So, he does, in a sense, elevate those two commands as being core to understanding the rest. But he doesn’t dismiss “the rest” as being unimportant or invalid! 

The “core commands” of love God and love others are the most broad and all-encompassing, so it’s the best starting point with which to understand the law. That doesn’t make the others less valid or less important, just more focused, ranging from moral principles, to health and cleanliness, to festivals and rituals, to logistical considerations and civil governance.

Once again, Jesus did not respond with the contentious, politically polarized type of answer they were expecting, but rather demonstrated a much deeper and more meaningful, certainly less petty, understanding of scripture than the “scholar” who confronted him.

Schooled by Scripture (vs. 41-46)

And, once again, Jesus doesn’t leave it at that!

He takes advantage of the Pharisees being assembled there together to ask them a question of his own!

All along, the goal of the pharisees has been to undermine Jesus’s authority, to create doubt, or even “proof” that he was not, in fact, sent from Yahweh, but was rather an imposter that needed to be taken out.

So, Jesus asks them a question about “the Christ.” “The Messiah.” He’s not asking them about himself, specifically. He doesn’t ask “who’s son am I?” Even though that we, the reader, know that Jesus is the messiah, the Pharisees certainly haven’t accepted that yet.So he asks about “The Messiah.” As in, the concept, the prophecy, the ambiguous, mysterious, much awaited Messiah promised throughout scripture.

Realize, too, that when he says “son” that’s just a way of saying “descendant.” He’s essentially quizzing them on the Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament. “Who’s descendant will the Messiah be?” And it’s an extremely easy question, which they are quick to answer: “Well, David of course!”

That’s exactly the answer Jesus was expecting…they’ve actually fallen into HIS trap now!!!

The next thing Jesus says is like the ultimate “drop the mic” line. It literally leaves everyone speechless! 

‌Verse 44 is a direct quote from Psalm 110:1, which you’ll find quoted a LOT throughout the New Testament!

David, in the Holy Spirit, describes Yahweh speaking to the Messiah, a human, and giving him dominion as king in heaven.

So, if the Messiah were to be a descendant of David, how could David be seeing him while still alive and referring to him as his lord, if he hadn’t been born yet?

The implication is that the Messiah, while yes, being tied to the lineage of David, also exists apart from that, as an eternal member of the triune Godhead.

This places the Messiah’s authority beyond that of any other human, including David’s, as the high king of heaven.

Application/Conclusion

‌Throughout all three of these conversations, Jesus’s impeccable understanding of scripture and indisputable claim of authority left his listeners astounded, nobody daring to question him again. And yet, he had still committed no crime, advocated for no treason, or stirred up any unnecessary controversy, all while unabashedly speaking truth and not shying away from calling out where people were wrong.

Amazing!

It’s yet another reminder of Jesus’s perfect wisdom and patience, courage and humility, that we would all do well to emulate. And it’s yet another assertion of his deity and authority, and supremacy among men as he ultimate prophet, priest, and king.

This passage also sets up the next couple chapters, where Jesus, free of interruptions, will continue to preach hard truths in the temple, and lord willing we will dive into that in two weeks, after Easter.

 

 


Three Conversations with Jesus