“Emmanuel’s Riddle” – Matthew 22:41-46

June 5th, 2016

Matthew 22:41-46 (see also: Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44)

“Emmanuel’s Riddle”

Auxiliary Text: Isa 29; Col 1:15-23;

Call to Worship from: Psalm 110

 

Service OrientationThe most important question of your life is the question Jesus asked the Pharisees.  Your answer has eternal, cosmic and significant consequences.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. —  Hebrews 1:3

 

Background Information:

  • Just a moment ago, in his summary of the law, Jesus has placed all the emphasis on love, as being the fulfillment of the Decalog. And now he is putting this love into practice by directing the attention of his audience to faith in himself, for apart from such faith–and from the right conception about the Christ–no Pharisee (or anyone else) can be saved (11:28-30; Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12).  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 810)
  • He is conversing with these men publicly for the very last time, and therefore asks the most important question of all.

 

“What is your opinion of the Christ?  Whose son is he?”  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 811)

  • The time has arrived to prepare the audience for the idea that the title “Son of David” means more than was generally realized. The Pharisees must learn that David’s Son is also David’s Lord.  Not only is he man; he is also God!  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 811)
  • In the passage before us in this chapter, Jesus showed that He not only was adept at answering supposedly tough questions, He was without peer in asking difficult questions of His own. If His answers made them look foolish, His questions removed any doubt.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 650)
  • (v. 43) To ask a question like this to the Pharisees, who were among the most learned people in the land with respect to the Scriptures of the OT and Jewish theology, was like asking someone with a PhD to answer a question that any kindergartner could handle. Everyone in Israel knew the answer to Jesus’ question–the Messiah was to come from the lineage of David, the greatest king of Israel, the one who had ushered in the golden age of the nation.  Furthermore, God had entered a covenant with David, promising him that there would be a king from his line on the throne forever (2 Sm 7:12-16).  Yet shortly after David died, the golden age began to tarnish under his son Solomon, and when Solomon died, the Davidic kingdom turned to rust with the division between Rehoboam and Jeroboam (1 Kings 12).  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 650-1)
  • (v. 43) We miss the point if we see Jesus’ question as nothing more than tit-for-tat. His is a serious question, and an honest answer would bring his opponents to correct understanding of him whom they are opposing.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 320)
  • (v. 43) As far as Jesus in concerned, his legal sonship in David’s line is established by Matthew’s genealogical table in chapter one; and his natural sonship from David’s line is equally established by Luke’s table, 3:23, etc. his whole family connection was fully known (13:55, 56; 12:46).  No more deadly weapon against the Messiahship of Jesus could have been found than the proof that he was not of David’s line; but his bitterest enemies never ventured to cast even the least doubt upon his human descent from David.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 885-6)
  • (v. 43) The answer of the Pharisees was perfectly correct as far as it went. But it had to go much farther.  For David had a large number of descendants.  How was the one to be distinguished who would be the Messiah?  If God had revealed no more concerning the Messiah than the fact that he would be a son of David he would have left his people altogether in the dark.  Davidic descent was only one mark.  David’s sons stand out far above all the others, far above even a Solomon and a Hezekiah, would beyond a doubt make him the promised Messiah?  Surely, the Scriptures would answer that question.  In order to help these Jews and other bystanders to find this answer in the Scriptures, Jesus continues his question.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 886)
  • (v. 43) In Jewish categories, the son was never greater than the father. Instead, the descendent was always subordinate to the elder.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 651-2)
  • (v. 43) It is typical of Jesus to mention the inspiration of the Scriptures in passing rather than making a point of it. (He does the same thing in Jn 10:34-38).  Jesus simply takes it for granted that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.  Instead of laboring to establish the authority of Scripture, Jesus simply quotes it.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 321)
  • (v. 44) The Hebrew Yahweh means “I am” in Hebrew. But in Psalm 110, Yahweh is having a conversation with someone apart from Himself, someone whom David identifies as “my Lord.”  In this instance, the word Lord is rendered with capital and lowercase letters.  This tells us that the Hebrew word that is translated here is Adonai, which literally means “the sovereign One.”  So, God is speaking to “the sovereign One.”  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 652)
  • (v. 44) Psalm 110 depicts two separate individuals, Yahweh and the Adonai, that is, “the sovereign One.” But Psalm 8 gives a different picture.  There we read, “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent Is Your name in all the earth” (v. 1a).  Here again we see the different renderings of the word Lord.  Keeping this difference in mind, we see that this verse literally reads, “O Yahweh, our Adonai, how excellent is Your name in all the earth.”  Both words are here–Yahweh and Adonai–and both refer to one and the same person, namely, God.  The title Adonai is perhaps the most significant title that is given to God in the OT.  Yahweh is His name; Adonai is His title.  It is the supreme title that belongs exclusively to God.  So, the psalmist in Psalm 8 is saying, “O Yahweh, our Sovereign One.”  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 652-3)
  • The silence of Jesus’ opponents shows their total defeat. This was Jesus’ last controversy with the religious establishment.  It established with finality his victory over his opponents.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 446)
  • By my count, Ps 110:1 is cited directly or alluded to indirectly at least 27 times (in the NT), the chief passages being Mt 22:44 (parallel accounts in Mk 12:36; Lk 20:42-43); Acts 2:34-35; 7:56; 1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3, 13; 12:2; and 1 Pt 3:22.  Verse 4 of Psalm 110, in which Jesus is called “a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek,” is referred to in Heb 5:6; 7:17, 21; 8:1; and 10:11-13 and is the dominating idea in those chapters.

Why was Psalm 110 so important to the NT writers and to the church?  Because Psalm 110 is the greatest and clearest of the messianic psalms.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 482-3)

  • If David calls him “Lord, he is clearly the son of someone far superior to David. For the uninstructed reader the question remains tantalizingly open as the pericope ends, but Matthew’s “Whose son is he?”  Indeed, even the high priest himself will put before Jesus the combined title “Messiah, Son of God,” and Jesus will affirm that that is how he understands his position (26:63-64), and thus “in effect answers the question left unanswered in 22:45.”  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 849)
  • The teacher who never attended the right schools (Jn 7:15-18) confounds the greatest theologians in the land. And if his question (v. 45) was unanswerable at this time, a young Pharisee, who may have been in Jerusalem at the time, was to answer it in due course (Rom 1:1-4; 9:5).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 468-9)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why is Jesus pushing the Pharisees so hard in forcing them to properly and comprehensively identify the Christ?

 

Answer:  Because eternity is at stake.   Only the Christ as Emmanuel can save.   Only the Christ as Emmanuel can defeat every and all enemies . . . even death!  Only the Christ as Emmanuel has the necessary authority to fulfill and satisfy all the promises of God for those who believe.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Jesus

 

Their view of the Messiah was far too small.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 653)

 

He goes on the offensive as he poses a question to the Pharisees.  Jesus goes to the heart of the issue, challenging their ability to rightly interpret one of the most important messianic texts in the OT.  If they cannot rightly interpret this text, they cannot possibly rightly understand his identity.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 726)

 

God was going to bring the Messiah to a place of equality with Himself in honor, power, and glory.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 348)

 

Why is Jesus pushing us to see the Christ as Emmanuel?:

I-  Only a Christ who is a perfect God-man can be mankind’s substitute for sin(Mt 1:21-23; 8:3; 18:11; Lk 1:68-77; 2:11; 19:10; 23:40-47; Jn 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:14, 42; 8:46; Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:38-39; Rom 1:16-17; 3:21-26; 4:25; 5:1-11; 6:23; 10:4, 9-11; 1 Cor 6:11; 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Gall 1:3-4; Phil 3:8-10; Col 1:12-14; 2:10; Heb 4:15; 7:26-28; 9:14; 1 Pt 1:19; 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5)

 

Jesus’ point was that the title “Son of David” alone was not sufficient for the Messiah, that He is also the Son of God.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 348)

 

Heidelberg Catechism questions 13-19

Q12.  According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after:  how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?

  1. God requires that his justice be satisfied (Ex 23:7; Rom 2:1-22). Therefore the claims of his justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or another (Isa 53:11; Rom 8:3-4).

 

Q13. Can we pay this debt ourselves?

  1. Certainly not. Actually, we increase our guilt every day (Mat 6:12; Rom 2:4-5).

 

14Q. Can another creature—any at all—pay this debt for us?

  1. No. To begin with, God will not punish another creature for what a human is guilty of (Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18). Besides, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal anger against sin and release others from it (Ps 49:7-9; 130:3).

 

Q15. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?

  1. One who is truly human (Rom 1:3; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:17) and truly righteous (Isa 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26), yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God (Isa 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:6; John 1:1).

 

Q16. Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?

  1. God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin (Rom 5:12, 15; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:14-16); but a sinner could never pay for others (Heb 7:26-27; 1 Pt 3:18).

 

Q17. Why must he also be true God?

  1. So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life (Isa 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:21).

 

Q18. And who is this mediator—true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous?

  1. Our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 1:21-13; Luke 2:11; 1 Tm 2:5), who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God (1 Cor 1:30).

 

Q19. How do you come to know this?

  1. The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise (Gn 3:15); later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs (Gn 22:18; 49:10) and prophets (Isa 53; Jer 23:5-6; Mic 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb 1:1-2), and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law (Lv 1-7; John 5:46; Heb 10:1-10); finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son (Rom 10:4; Gal 4:4-5; Col 2:17).

 

God clothed Jesus in our sin.  He took our penalty, our punishment so that we, like Joshua, the high priest, can get what Rv 19:7-8 pictures: “Let us rejoice and be glad…Fine linen, bright and clean, is given [to us] to wear.”  Pure linen–perfectly clean–without stain or blemish.  Heb 13 says Jesus was crucified outside the gate where bodies are burned–the garbage heap, a place of absolute uncleanliness–so that we can be made clean.  Through Jesus Christ, at infinite cost to himself, God has clothed us in costly clean garments.  It cost him his blood.  And it is the only thing that can deal with the problem of your heart.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 82-4)

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is both God for man and man for God; he is God’s incarnate Son, fully divine and fully human. (J. I. Packer; Rediscovering Holiness, 26)

 

If Messiah is not David’s son, whose son is he?  The solution is given by the prologue to Matthew (chs. 1-2) and by the voice of God himself (3:17; 17:5):  Jesus is the Son of God.  Even the title “Son of Man” offers a transcendent conception of messiahship.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 468)

 

In the incarnation, Jesus became what we were not without giving up what he was.  Jesus became man by addition not by subtraction. (Alister Begg, Jesus 101)

 

II-  Only a Christ who is God can defeat all enemies of mankind . . . even death, and usher real peace into the world.  (Mt 22:41-46; see also: Mt 6:9; 8:16, 27; 9:6; 10:1; 12:28-29; Mk 3:27; Lk 1:68-77; 5:17, 24; 9:1; 11:20-22; Jn 10:17-18, 28; 11:25; 13:3; 14:6; 17:2;  16:33; Rom 14:9; 1 Cor 15:23-28; Eph 1:20-22; Col 1:17; 2:25; Phil 2:9-11; 3:20-21; 2 Tm 1:10; Heb 2:7-8; 10:12-13; 1 Pt 3:22; 1 Jn 3:5-8; Rv 1:18; 3:21; 11:15; 17:14; 19:11-16)

 

When a defeated enemy was brought before an ancient oriental monarch, the ruler would make the prisoner prostrate himself at his feet.  The king would then place his foot on the neck of the vanquished enemy as if he were a footstool (see Josh 10:24).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 348)

 

The terrible error of the Pharisees is here exposed.  Their conception of the Messiah was that he was David’s son and only David’s son, a mere human Messiah, however great and mighty he might be in his human glory and power.  His deity was a closed book to their blind reading of Scripture.  They dared not say that he was not to be David’s son; they knew that he would be.  They dared not deny David’s inspired word that the Messiah would at the same time be David’s Lord and thus very God.  Yet the Pharisees would not admit the Messiah’s deity.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 891)

 

In Jesus’ day particularly, hope and expectation for the coming of the Messiah was at a fever pitch because the Jewish people were groaning under their subjugation to Rome.  During the reign of David, Israel was one of the great and mighty empires of the ancient world.  By Jesus’ time, Israel was at one of the weakest points in its history, impotent in military strength.  The people longed to see the lost glory of their nation renewed.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 651)

 

The teachers of the law and Pharisees no doubt were familiar with the Psalm he quoted, but they could not explain its application:  it could only be explained by conceding the pre-existence and divinity of the Messiah.  This the Pharisees would not concede:  their only idea of Messiah was that he was to be a man like one of themselves:  their ignorance of the Scriptures, of which they pretended to know more than others, and their low, material view of the true nature of Christ, were thus exposed at one and the same time.  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 212-3)

 

III-  Only a Christ who is God has the authority necessary to fulfill and satisfy all the promises of God.  (Mt 22:45-46; see also: Dn 10:17; Mt 19:28; 26:64; Mk 14:62; 16:19; Lk 1:32-33; 22:69; Jn 5:27; Acts 2:30-34; 5:31; 7:55-56; 10:36; Rom 8:34; 9:5; 10:11-13; 1 Cor 15:47; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pt 3:22; Rv 1:5; 17:14)  

 

 

The Father was promising to install the Son at His right hand as the King of the kings and as the Lord of the lords.  David understood that his Son would be King over all things, even David himself.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 653)

 

In the ancient world, to sit at a person’s right hand was to occupy a place of honor; a seat at the right hand of the host was a place of honor at a dinner.  But to sit at a king’s right hand was more than mere honor.  It was to share in his rule.  It signified participation in the royal dignity and power, like a son ruling with his father.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 485)

 

Psalm 110 is about a divine king exclusively, a king who has been placed at the right hand of God in heaven and who is presently engaged in extending his spiritual rule throughout the entire earth.  Significantly, Psalm 110 also teaches that this divine messianic figure is to be a priest, performing priestly functions, and that additionally he is to be a judge who, at the end of time, will pronounce a final judgment on the nations and peoples of this earth.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 483)

 

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he declared himself to be the long-awaited Messiah, but he did so in the humblest manner, riding upon a donkey–and a borrowed donkey at that.  But now, as he puts this question to the Pharisees, he makes the highest claims for himself as the Messiah.  He will sit not on the throne of David but at the right hand of God.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 320)

 

The Jews and early Christians knew that the Scriptures (our OT) were inspired by God, bearing his authority in its teachings.  Jesus quoted Ps 110:1 to show that David, speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, understood the Messiah to be his Lord (that is, one who had authority over him), not just his descendant.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 444)

 

This Gospel repeatedly recognizes that Jesus the Messiah is Son of David, not only by title (1:1; 9:26; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9, 15; cf. 12:23) and by the genealogy (1:2-16) but also by its portrayal of Jesus as King of the Jews (2:2; 21:5; 27:11, 29, 27, 42; cf. Hay, Glory, 116-7).  What Jesus does is synthesize the concept of a human Messiah in David’s line with the concept of a divine Messiah who transcends human limitations (e.g., Ps 45:6-7; Isa 9;6; Jer 23:5-6; 33:15-16; Zech 12:10; 13:7), even as Matthew elsewhere synthesizes kingship and the Suffering Servant.  The OT itself looked forward to one who would be both the offshoot and the root of David (Isa 11:1, 10; cf. Rv 22:16).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 468)

 

To be sitting at God’s right is to exercise this power and this majesty to the fullest extent.  This invitation to sit is thus the divine exaltation of Christ’s human nature.  For as the Son, begotten from eternity, he is coequal with the Father and together with the Father and the Spirit exercises all power and majesty.  When the Son assumed our human nature he communicated all his divine attributes to that nature.  Just as a king who marries a humble maiden by virtue of that marriage makes her a queen so that she shares in all his royal prerogatives, so the Son did when he wedded our human nature.  But in order to accomplish his redemptive work it was necessary that the human nature pass through a state of humiliation while it was here on earth.  So the human nature had the divine attributes bestowed upon it, but ordinarily, except when working miracles, did not use these attributes, Phil 2:6, etc.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 889)

 

What do you think about the Christ?

 

Worship Point:  Worship Christ who is the perfect man.  He died for us and took our place.  Because He is God His death is sufficient for all sins for all time.  His perfectly righteous life can now be credited to us if we trust in Him.  (2 Cor 5:21)

 

When Stephen, the first martyr, had his vision of the exalted Christ, it was of Jesus “standing at the right hand of God” to receive him into heaven (Acts 7:55).  When John had his vision of Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, it was of one who was as God himself.  The apostle was so overcome by Jesus’ heavenly splendor that he “fell at his feet as though dead” (Rv 1:17).  We need to recover this understanding of who Jesus is and where he is now.  If we do, we will worship him better and with greater reverence.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 486)

 

Martin Luther made another connection between the two questions.  He pointed out that Jesus preached the law when he answered the question about the greatest commandment, and then he preached the gospel when he declared himself to be the Son of David who was prophesied in Psalm 110.  Furthermore, it is through faith in the Son of David that the Holy Spirit gives us the desire and the strength to love God and to love our neighbor.  And it is in the Son of David that we find forgiveness for all those times when we have failed to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And it is in the Son of David that we find forgiveness for all those times we have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves.  (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 320-1)

 

Gospel ApplicationSalvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved(Acts 4:12)

 

Heidelberg Catechism:

Q60. How are you right with God?

 

  1. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 3:8-11).

Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all of God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them (Rom 3:9-10), and even though I am still inclined towards all evil (Rom 7:23), nevertheless, without my deserving it at all (Ti 3:4-5), out of sheer grace (Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8), God grants and credits to me the perfect salvation, righteousness, and holiness of Christ (Rom 4:3-5; Gn 15:6; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1-2), as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me (Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21).

All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart (Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30-31).

 

Q61.  Why do you say that by faith alone you are right with God?

 

  1. It is not because of any value my faith has that God is pleased with me. Only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me right with God (1 Cor 1:30-31).  And I can receive this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than by faith alone (Rom 10:10; 1 Jn 5:10-12).

 

Q62.  Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him?

 

  1. Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law (Rom 3:20; Col 3:10; Dt 27:26). Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin (Isa 64:6).

 

Religion says that if we obey God, he will love us.

The gospel says that it is because God has loved us through Jesus that we can obey.

Religion says that we should trust in what we do as good, moral people.

The gospel says that we should trust in the perfectly sinless life of Jesus because he is   the only good and truly moral person who will ever live.

The focus of much religion is to get from God such things as health, wealth, insight, power, and control.

The focus of the gospel is not the gifts God gives but rather God himself–in the form of Jesus–as the gift given to us by grace.

Religion is about what I have to do.

The gospel is about what I get to do.

Religion leads to an uncertainty about my standing before God because I never know if I have done enough to please God.

The gospel leads to a certainty about my standing before God because of the finished work of Jesus on my behalf on the cross.  (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 120-1)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  See Jesus as so much more than the “son of David”.  So much more than a baby born in a manger who grew up to die on a cross.  Jesus is God incarnate:  Emmanuel.  (Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; Mt 1:21; Lk 1:46-79; Eph 1:3-3:20; Phil 2:1-11; Col 1:15-23)

 

A variety of explanations has been offered as to why Jesus asks this question about the Messiah.  Already the ancient fathers saw that Jesus here renews the supreme question he had a few weeks ago addressed to his own band of disciples, 16:13-16.  Peter had given the true answer; the Pharisees refuse to give that answer.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 884)

 

So What?:  Jesus is God.  Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.   Jesus has conquered all enemies . . . even death.  Jesus loves me.  Therefore, believers in Jesus have absolutely no rational justification for living in worry, fear or discouragement.  Realize we may not want to live life in line with the Gospel when it goes against our sinful nature.  (Gal 2:14; Jn 3:19-21; Rom 1:18-32; 2 Thess 2:9-12)

 

The religious elite of Judaism had never seen that obvious truth, because, like many people today, they did not look to Scripture for truth.  When they looked to it at all, it was for the purpose of trying to shore up their humanly devised religious traditions and personal preferences.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 16-23, 349)

 

It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today.  The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the Last Day.  Our salvation is “external to ourselves.”  I find no salvation in my life history, but only in the history of Jesus Christ.  Only he who allows himself to be found in Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, his Cross, and his resurrection, is with God and God with him.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 54) (red bold emphasis Pastor Keith)

 

If the Christ were only the son of David, he could never be David’s Lord:  the fact that David sets lordship above sonship suggests that this Man is Wonderful, Emmanuel, God with us, a ladder with the foot on the earth, with the head bathed in the glad heavens.  Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.  “Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, Lawyers,” said he, “do not trouble yourselves about the tribute money, and questions of succession in family relationships:  do not trouble yourselves with the merely numerical relationships of the points of the law, but do ask deep questions, grand questions, massive, noble questions, get up into the higher region of thinking, and there learn how possible it is for reason to blossom into faith, and for the hard, literal intellect to bow down in tender homage before the infinite God.”  (Joseph Parker, Christ’s Finished Work, Studies in Matthew 16-28, 111)

 

Their silence and reticence to question Jesus further is not only the conclusion to the preceding pericope but also the conclusion to the series of controversies that stretch back to 21:23.  Jesus has given increasing clarification of his identity everywhere in these controversies.  They have not been able to entrap him.  Instead, he has revealed clearly his identity and his authority.  He will now soon rebuke them severely in the series of “woes” (ch. 23) for not accepting him for who he has revealed himself to be, their long-anticipated Messiah.  David’s “Lord,” who sustains a matchless relationship to Yahweh as his unique Son.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 728)

 

He did not hereby design to ensnare them, as they did him, but to instruct them in a truth they were loth to believe–that the expected Messiah is God.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 327)

 

 

Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.  Maybe we can’t handle the truth.  (Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 36)

 

The Pharisees who responded to Jesus’ question about the identity of the Messiah (22:42) gave an answer that satisfied the tradition of their academic brotherhood, but it did not give the full picture of the Messiah.  They were left with only a human descendant of David.  But that kind of messiah is not able to do much more than any other human religious figure.  So Jesus brilliantly prods them to open their eyes and hearts to see what David’s psalm said–that Messiah is Adon, the Lord, who is the divine Son of man of Daniel’s prophecy.  That grand, mind-opening experience should have convinced the Pharisees.  They were waiting for a messianic deliverer, but this didn’t fit with their preconceived ideas, so they turned away.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 739-40)

 

The Pharisees remain dumb and silent.  They had no answer since they were obdurate and refused to give the right answer.  Although convicted, they will not yield.  (R.C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel, 892)

 

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a Great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.   You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.” (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, 55-6)

 JESUS:

THE CHRIST

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