Today's Devotions

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Showcase:Chatham Church

  • Made in His Image: Alex Kirk +

    World-made, self-made, or  God made? It is a trick question, because the first two are one and the same. When Read More
  • Prayer by Alex Kirk, Chatham Community Church +

    What role does prayer play in our lives? What is prayer, anyway? Alex Kirk, pastor of Chatham Community Church, gives Read More
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Don  CarsonGenesis 23;

Matthew 22; Nehemiah 12; Acts 22

THE CLOSING VERSES OF Matthew 22 (Matt. 22:41-46) contain one of the most intriguing exchanges in the Gospels.

After successfully fending off a series of tricky questions designed rather more to trap him or demean him than to elicit the wise answers he actually gives, Jesus poses a question of his own: "What do you think about the Christ [i.e., the Messiah]? Whose son is he?" (22:42). Some Jews thought there would be two Messiahs — one from David's line (the tribe of Judah) and one from the tribe of Levi. But not surprisingly, the Pharisees here give the right answer: "The son of David" (22:42). Now Jesus drops his bombshell: "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'"(22:43-44).

Jesus is citing Psalm 110, identified by the superscription as a psalm of David. If a mere courtier had written the psalm, then when he wrote "The LORD says to my Lord," he would have been understood to mean "The Lord [God] said to my Lord [the King]." In fact, that is the way many liberal scholars interpret the psalm — which means, of course, that they must ignore what the superscription says. But if David wrote the psalm, then the "my Lord" whom he addresses must be someone other than himself. The explanation offered by many students of the Bible, both Jewish and Christian, over the centuries, is correct: David, "speaking by the Spirit" (22:43), writing what is called an oracular psalm (i.e., an oracle, a prophecy immediately prompted by the Spirit), is referring to the Messiah who was to come: "The LORD [God] said to my Lord [the Messiah]." And what he said, in the rest of the psalm, establishes him as both universal king and perfect priest.

In days when family hierarchies meant that the son was always viewed as in some ways inferior to the father, Jesus drives home the point he is making: "If then David calls him [i.e., the Messiah] 'Lord,' how can he be his son?" (22:45).

The implications are staggering. The Messiah from the line of David would, on the one hand, doubtless be David's son, removed by a millennium from David but nevertheless in the throne succession. But on the other hand, he would be so great that even David must address him as "my Lord." Any other conception of the Messiah is too small, too reductionistic. The Old Testament texts pointed in the right direction generations earlier. But there will always be people who prefer the simplifications of reductionism to the profundities of the revelation in the whole Bible.

Genesis 23; Matthew 22; Nehemiah 12; Acts 22

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

  • No Longer Alone with God

    This is the first of a seven part series by Dallas Willard, a USC philosophy professor who is closely associated Read More
  • Storytelling

    Eugene Peterson discusses his influences as a writer, as well as how and why he created the Message translation. This Read More
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Favorites

  • A Model for Coming to God-adapted from Sylvia Gunter +

    Sylvia Gunter uses Psalm 35 to show how David asked God to contend, fight, rescue, defend, vindicate Read More
  • Soaring by Surrendering +

    How do birds soar? Read More
  • Forgiveness Leads to Thriving: John 21 +

    How we deal with our daily sins determines whether others see Jesus in us. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • The Mystery of Godliness +

    Longings after God My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, Read More
  • The Mystery of Iniquity by RC Sproul +

    It has been called the Achilles' heel of the Christian faith. Of course, I'm referring to the classical problem of Read More
  • The Mystery of the Trinity: One in Essence, Three in Person by RC Sproul +

    Do the three Persons of the Trinity truly exist? In this message entitled "One in Essence, Three in Person," Dr. Read More
  • Behold, I Tell You a Mystery by Baritone Coloratura· +

    Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, Read More
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