V0034553 Christ curses the Pharisees. Etching by F.A. Ludy after J.F.

Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Luke 20:41-44] December 19, 2017


Whose Son Is the Messiah?


41 Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
43 until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”’

44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”


Observations & reflections


Jesus’ use of Psalm 110 is a very close copy of Mark’s version with just a few minor changes. Matthew also sticks close to the Markan passage. This passage has confused a number of Bible readers over the centuries but it’s fairly straight forward. The messiah was supposed to be the offspring of King David as prophesied in 2 Samuel.

When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

This is why the crowds shouted “have mercy on us Son of David, as Jesus entered Jerusalem. However, Jesus adjusts their thinking just a bit. The messiah will be in David’s bloodline but the messiah will not be the literal son of David. This is clearly seen in Psalm 110 where David refers to the messiah as Lord, not son. The 110th Psalm is a messianic Psalm which can be see by reading the rest of it…which was left out of Jesus’ quote because he likely assumed it was familiar to the audience.

It is hard to know what prompted this teaching by Jesus but it must have been important enough that the gospel writers all included, excepting John naturally. But what is to gain by this teaching for modern readers of the Bible? I would suggest that we recall that Jesus was not merely the messiah but that he is at the right hand of God and as Psalm 110 suggest, he will return on the final day of Judgment to separate the goats from the sheep.

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing
    on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
    your young men will come to you
    like dew from the morning’s womb.

The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
    and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
    and so he will lift his head high.

MATTHEW 22:41-46MARK 12:35-37LUKE 20:41-44
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?

”“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

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 can he be his son?”

46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked,

“Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?

36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:,
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies,
under your feet.

”’37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?
”The large crowd listened to him with delight.

41 Then Jesus said to them,

“Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?

42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:,
“Sit at my right hand
43 until I make your enemies,
a footstool for your feet.”’

44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”


[Featured image is an etching titled “Christ curses the Pharisees”, by F.A. Ludy after J.F. Overbeck, 1843.]

Comments, curses, and blessings welcome!