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Pray and Read: Matthew 22:41-46
Opening thought: “Turn about is fair play.”
That’s one thing my Daddy always said when somebody got a taste of what they had been doing to somebody else. He usually said it when my younger brother started doing to me what I had been doing to him to aggravate him.
Another saying my Daddy has is “You can dish it out but you can’t take it.” For those of you not from the sunny South, that means you enjoy doing something, usually teasing or downright harassing, to another person, for me usually my brother, but when someone (usually the same person) does the same thing to you, you become angry and cannot handle the treatment.
That’s what happened to the Pharisees at the end of Matthew 22. They had been dishing out questions which were really traps for him, and he was successful in dealing with each one. Now Jesus plays a round. After all, turn about is fair play. He asks them an honest question to help them open their eyes to whom He is. But they didn’t like things turned around. They could dish it out, but they couldn’t take it.
Key Truth: Matthew wrote Matthew 22:41-46 to show that Jesus, the Son of David is the Promised Messiah, fully human, fully God, and he fully demands an answer.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what the Bible says about who Jesus is and what He expects from you.
- Jesus is fully human (Matthew 22:41-42).
- Jesus is fully God (Matthew 22:43-45)
- Jesus fully demands an answer (Matthew 22:46).
It is Jesus’ final week of his earthly ministry. Beginning at chapter 22:15, Matthew shows us four encounters Jesus has with the religious leaders at the Temple. The leaders’ goal is to trap him through questions (Matthew 22:15). The first question is political (22:15-22). The second is theological (22:23-33). The third is legal (22:34-40). The fourth is Christological (22:41-46). Three of the four involve the Old Testament Scripture. Today we look at the last one, and this time, Jesus takes a turn.
Having silenced all his questioners from all the major Jewish leadership groups in the previous three encounters, the King now returns the favor and asks a question of the Pharisees, the religious conservatives. “Whose son is the Messiah?”
In traditional Jewish halakah, Jesus suggests to them a problem. How do they account that David called the Messiah his Lord. How could the Messiah be David’s son and also his Lord? A father, especially
He is just setting up his point – a startling one – that the Messiah is greater than David (22:43). Here’s where Jesus is going: If David, speaking prophetically, calls the Messiah my Lord (22:44; Psalm 110:1), then the Messiah must be greater than David. And Jesus’ point is that He is the Messiah.
1. JESUS IS FULLY HUMAN (22:41-42)
a. He is the descendant of King David, the greatest king of
b. Adam Clarke: “The evangelists, Matthew and Luke, were so fully convinced of the conclusiveness of this proof [of his lineage from David] that they had recourse to the public registers; and thus proved to the Jews, from their own records, that Jesus was born of the family mentioned by the prophets. Nor do we find that a scribe, Pharisee, or any other, ever attempted to invalidate this proof, though it would have essentially subserved their cause, could they have done it. But as this has not been done, we may fairly conclude it was impossible to do it.”
c. Matthew has been constantly putting Jesus forward as the Son of David.
i. In his genealogy he is called a descendant of David (1:6, 17),
ii. The two blind men in
iii. When he drove out a deaf, blind, and mute demon, the people exclaimed, “Could this be the Son of David?” (12:23),
iv. When he entered
v. Children in the
vi. But Jesus is not grand standing his ability to confound the scholars, and His point is not that the Messiah is David’s son. He wants to reveal Himself to them.
d. By this point in his Gospel, Matthew has now pointed to Jesus as greater than
i. the Temple (12:6), ie., more worthy of worship;
ii. Jonah (12:41), ie., a greater prophet;
iii. Solomon (12:42), ie., greater wisdom;
iv. and now David (22:43-44), ie., a greater King and greater Man after God’s own heart.
e. APPLICATION: Knowing about Christ does not mean you know Christ (22:41-42). The Pharisees answered quickly and accurately. They knew about the Messiah, but they stood and looked him in the eye and did not know Him. What about you? Some of you know a lot about Jesus Christ. But do you know Him? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you walk with Him? Do you know His Presence? Do you know the voice of your Shepherd? Is your life His Life? Is there any doubt? There is nothing more important for you to settle in your heart. You can settle that issue today. Submit your life to the Son and Lord of David.
2. JESUS IS FULLY GOD (22:43-45)
a. Jesus is quoting Psalm 110. He says three things about this psalm.
i. Jesus said David wrote it. We are told today that he did not.
ii. Jesus said David composed it by the Spirit’s inspiration. We are told it is not inspired.
iii. Jesus said David wrote it about the Messiah. We are told it is not Messianic.
iv. But if Jesus is Lord, then His Word is sure.
b. This was Jesus’ point. Jesus takes them to Psalm 110:1, what would become the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament (Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:17, 21; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22), and widely recognized even by Jewish scholars as a Messianic prophecy by David.
c. Adam Clarke: “Take the place of the greatest eminence and authority. Till I make thine enemies thy footstool - till I subdue both Jews and Gentiles under thee, and cause them to acknowledge thee as their sovereign and Lord. This quotation is taken from Psa_110:1; and, from it, these two points are clear:
i. That David wrote it by the inspiration of God; and
ii. That it is a prophetic declaration of the Messiah.”
d. Let’s look at Psalm 110:1 for a minute. This psalm not only gives a picture of the coming Messiah, but answers the question of the identity of the God-Man of Psalm 1-2. It predicts the Messiah’s throne at Zion (Jerusalem) (110:2), calls him a King (110:3) and Priest (110:4), gives a picture of the end time (110:5-6), and says he will be given authority after his resurrection (110:7).
e. Matthew Henry: “it is a prophetical summary of the doctrine of Christ; it describes him executing the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King, both in his humiliation and also in his exaltation.”
f. APPLICATION: You can trust the Word of God (22:43-45) Jesus affirmed the author as David, called this Psalm inspired as Scripture, and confirmed its interpretation as pointing directly to the Messiah. The word of God is true, and Jesus the Son and Lord of David, Who Himself is the Word, puts His name and integrity behind it.
g. Albert Barnes: “Nor is there any way of answering the question but by the admission that the Messiah was divine as well as human; that he had an existence at the time of David, and was his lord and master, his God and king, and that as man he was descended from him.”
h. Matthew Henry: “We must hold this fast, that he is David's Lord, and by that explain his being David's son. What those Rabbis could not then answer, blessed be God, the plainest Christian that is led into the understanding of the gospel of Christ, can now account for; that Christ, as God, was David's Lord; and Christ, as Man, was David's son.Rev_22:16); I am the root and the offspring of David. Christ, as God, was David's Root; Christ, as Man, was David's Offspring.” This he did not now himself explain, but reserved it till the proof of it was completed by his resurrection; but we have it fully explained by him in his glory (
i. Jesus forces a startling but obvious inference. He himself is David’s Lord, as well as his son, descended through the flesh from David, yet existing before David. Jesus bases his Messiahship not merely on his Davidic descent, but on His absolute supremacy and Lordship, as David had foreseen long ago.
j. APPLICATION: Is Jesus your Lord? Have you given yourself to Him? Have you declared your submission to the Messiah as David did? Do you bow to His supremacy? One day everyone will whether they like it or not. One day Jesus is coming back, and it will not be on a donkey with children calling Him the Son of David. He will be on a white horse with a sword and a rod of iron in his hand as Lord of David, to sit on David’s throne. And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
3. JESUS FULLY DEMANDS AN ANSWER (22:46)
a. The religious leaders were entirely thrown off and could not reply (22:46). At the same time, He brings them face to face with the reality of His Person. He Himself is the solution to the problem he raises. But their silence was their answer. They would not submit to Him as Lord. They saw the truth, and they refused it. What about you? Jesus demonstrated to them their ignorance of their own Scriptures and their own history.
b. This is the second time in his Gospel (the first being Matthew 16:13-16), that Matthew urges his audience to come to grips with the person of Jesus Christ and consider our commitment to Him.
c. Richard Owen Roberts, that great scholar of awakening and revival, says that the problem in the churches in the Colonies of the 1730s, just before the First Great Awakening, was baptismal regeneration. People believed that because they had been baptized, that they had been saved. No concept of relationship with Christ – I did my religious duty of being baptized, therefore I have ticked off that requirement for heaven. That is a lie that will send many to hell. We still have some of that attitude today in our churches. The First Great Awakening recovered the Scriptural teaching that one must have a personal encounter with the living God and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
d. Today, Roberts says, the problem is decisional regeneration. Because they made a “decision for Christ” once, a mental assent to the facts of the Gospel, they believe they are saved. They have made their decision, and then they think they can live their lives any way they want to without regard for the Lordship of Christ in their lives. Their faith is one of mental assent to facts, not active obedience to Christ. In John 2, a group of people told Jesus they believed in him because of his miracles. Jesus rejected their faith because it was not based on relationship with Him. In John 3, Nicodemus, that great Jewish rabbi, told Jesus that he had seen that Jesus was a great teacher. Jesus rejected his faith because it was not based on relationship.
e. What about you? If you were in Christ’s presence right now, would Jesus reject your faith because you based it on something other than your relationship with Him? 2 Peter 1:1 says that faith is not something you work up, not some mental assent to facts. It is something you receive. James says that the devil mentally assents to the facts of the gospel, and he does more than most pseudo-Christians. He trembles.
APPLICATION: You must decide what you will do with Jesus.
a. Will you embrace Him as Lord, or will you, as the Pharisees, walk away in silence, not wanting to change your life or your mind, not wanting to think about capital-R Reality, daring not to ask any more questions of Him?
What do you think about the Christ?
Albert Barnes: “We may ask here of each one, What think you of Christ? (Matt_22:42). What do you think of the necessity of a Saviour? What do you think of his nature? Is he God as well as man, or do you regard him only as a man? What do you think of his character? Do you see him to be lovely and pure, and is he such as to draw forth the warm affections of your heart? What do you think of salvation by him? Do you depend on him, and trust in him, and expect heaven only on the ground of his merits? Or, do you reject and despise him, and would you have joined in putting him to death? Nothing, more certainly tests the character, and shows what the feelings are, than the views which we entertain of Christ. Here error is fatal error; but he who has just views of the Redeemer, and right feelings toward him, is sure of salvation.”
Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, e-sword.net.
Beale, G.K., and Carson, D.A., eds. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, e-sword.net.
Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993.
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, e-sword.net.
Kapolyo, Joe. “Matthew.” Adeyemo, Tokunboh, gen. ed. Africa Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
Keener, Craig. Matthew. Osborne, Grant R., ser. ed., The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1997
――――――. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1993.
Morgan, G. Campbell. The Analyzed Bible: Matthew. New York: Fleming Revell, n.d.
――――――. The Gospel According to Matthew. Tarrytown, NY: Fleming Revell, 1929.
Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Wilkins, Michael J. “Matthew.” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
 Adam Clarke, “Matthew 22:42,” Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, e-sword.net.
 Joe Kapolyo, “Matthew,” Africa Bible Commentary, (
 G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to Matthew, (Tarrytown, NY: Fleming Revell, 1929), 271.
 G.K. Beale, and D.A. Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 82-4.
 Adam Clarke, “Matthew 22:44.”
 Matthew Henry, “Matthew 22:41-46,” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, e-sword.net. Michael J. Wilkins, “Matthew,” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 1:138-9. The Hebrew text has יהוה listed first and אדניע for the second occurrence of Lord. Since Jews did not read the name YHWH, they would have read it, “Adonai says to my Adonai . . .”
 Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, e-sword.net, Matthew 22:45.
 Matthew Henry, “Matthew 22:41-46.”
 G. Campbell Morgan, The Analyzed Bible: Matthew, (
 Albert Barnes, “Matthew 22:21-46,” Barnes’ Notes, e-sword.net.