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Sunday, September 22, 2019

"What Do You Think About the Christ?" [Matt's Messages]

“What Do You Think About the Christ?”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
September 21, 2019 :: Matthew 22:41-46

It is Tuesday of Jesus’ Crucial Week. Tuesday of Holy Week or Passion Week, the week in which Jesus Christ was crucified.

And for the last chapter and half, Jesus has been tussling with the Jewish religious leaders.

They don’t want Him to be king, so they have been trying to trap Him with trick questions.

But Jesus has not only answered their questions perfectly, but turned their questions back on them.

Everybody has been astonished at His answers and confounded by His returning questions.

And in today’s passage (verse 41 through 46), Jesus asks one more big question to finish them off.

Here’s the title for today’s message:

“What Do You Think About the Christ?”

As near as I can tell, Jesus is standing in the temple courts, and He’s straight up asking the authorities what they think about the Messiah.

The Gospel of Matthew is a theological biography of Jesus of Nazareth.

And we have seen again and again and again that the chief question that Matthew is trying to answer by giving us this book is “Who Is Jesus?”

We keep saying, “Keep your eye on the ball.”

I almost titled this message, “Keep your eye on the ball.”

Of course, that could be the title of most of these messages.

“Keep your eye on the ball.”

And what is the ball?

Who is Jesus?

And now, Jesus is bringing the identity of the Messiah (in Greek “Christos”), the Christ, right down to center stage in the temple courts.

“What do you think about the Christ?”

That’s the first question that Jesus asks in a series of leading questions, leading them to...silence. V.46 says that “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

This was a “mic drop moment.”

Where Jesus was the last man standing.

All because He asked them what they thought about Psalm 110.

This is going to be a two-finger sermon.

Do you know that point in a sermon when the preacher says, “Keep your finger in that text and turn with me over to this text?”

This is one of those sermons.

You’re going to want to put one finger in Matthew 22 and another finger or a bookmark or whatever in Psalm 110.

If Psalm 110 was a website, you’d find hypertext links to it throughout the New Testament.

By one count, it is linked to 37 different places in the New Testament. Sometimes a full quote, sometimes just an allusion.

But it’s the New Testament’s favorite Psalm–all of the authors love to refer back to Psalm 110 because they saw the Messiah in it, and they saw Who the Messiah is.

And so did Jesus.

So put a finger in both of those: Matthew 22 and Psalm 110. And we will probably flip a few other places as we go.

Because Jesus leads the Pharisees in a little Bible study.

Let’s read the first verse and the first and second question in the second verse.

“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?’”

How you answer that question makes all of the difference both now and forever.

What do you think about the Christ?

What do you think about the Messiah?

If you get that question wrong, there are major consequences to suffer.

And if you answer that question correctly, there are major blessings to be enjoyed.

It’s a very important question.

“What do you think about the Christ?”

We’re going to think in terms of four correct answers to that question from this passage.

“What do you think about the Christ?”

Specifically, Jesus asks the Pharisees, “Whose son is he?”

“Whose son is the Christ?”

What is their answer? V.42

“‘The son of David,’ they replied.”

Is that right?

Yes, it is.

Point number one:

 #1. THE SON OF DAVID.

The Messiah is the Son of David.

The Christ was to come from the lineage of King David.

The Pharisees are quite right.

We can see that in many places in the Old Testament. A ruler was promised to come from the tribe of Judah. David came from the tribe of Judah.

David was promised an eternal dynasty of kings in 2 Samuel 7.

And for years, Israel looked for one of David’s sons to fulfill all of the promises that were given to David.

It kind of looked like Solomon might, but then he disappointed.

And then his son disappointed.
And then his son disappointed.
And then his son disappointed.
And then his son disappointed.

Remember the Books of Kings?

But still the promises remained.

And the prophets foretold of the restoration of David’s kingship in the Christ to come.

Remember the branch from the stump of Jesse in Isaiah 11?

Remember the promise to the little town of Bethlehem in Micah 5?

Remember all of those psalms that talked about the Davidic king in terms that were too big to be fulfilled in any of the sons of David that have come so far?

The elders just studied Psalm 2 in our monthly elders’ meeting. Read Psalm 2 some time to get a glimpse of the Messiah to come.

And how He will be the Son of David.

Now, turn to Matthew chapter 1, verse 1.

Do you remember what pains Matthew took to tell us whose son Jesus is?

Matthew 1:1, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David...”

Do you see the link?

The Pharisees correctly say that the Christ is the Son of David, and Matthew has shown us that Jesus is the Son of David.

Now, I’m not very good at math, but I think that means that Jesus is the Christ.

They’re not going to be happy about that.

Here’s the application for us though:

God always keeps His promises.

And that means that I can trust Him.

Jesus will never disappoint.

He is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.

They are all “yes” in Him.

If we hold on in faith, we will see that all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus.

Because He is the Son of David.

What promises are you hanging onto today?

Do you know the promises of God?

I don’t know how people get through their days without the promises!

Yes, we often have to wait.

They had to wait for Jesus to come. Many thousands of years.

And we are still waiting for Jesus to come again. A couple thousand years.

But we can see that God always keeps His promises because He promised a Messiah from the line of David, and Jesus is a Messiah from the line of David.

Now that would be enough for us live a week on if we meditate on it, but Jesus doesn’t stop there.

In fact, Jesus introduces some cognitive dissonance at this point. Verse 43.

Jesus has asked whose son is the Christ, and the Pharisees have correctly answered, “The Son of David,” but in verse 43:

“He said to them, ‘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.’' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?’”

Now that’s a lot of people being referred to and it’s important to get all of the persons straight. Who’s talking and who’s talking about whom.

And Jesus is taking them back to Psalm 110.

Do you have Psalm 110? Keep a finger in Matthew 22, but look at Psalm 110.

I think that Jesus is pointing out something the Pharisees had never seen when they studied Psalm 110.

Do you have that experience reading the Bible?

You’ve read this story a thousand times, and you never saw this detail?

Psalm 110 is clearly messianic.

It’s clearly about the Messiah to come.

I don’t know how you can read it any other way.

It may have been read originally to refer to Solomon and to the other Davidic kings.

I think you can read it in a certain way if you get into the shoes of an Old Testament reader and see it as being in some ways about David’s son and sons to come.

But, but the shoes here are just too big for any of those guys to fill.

Heather and I were talking about this last night.

Whenever you read Psalm 110, especially after reading the New Testament, it’s impossible to not see the Christ in this psalm.

And the Pharisees thought of it as a Messianic Psalm themselves.

Most Jewish interpreters of that era read it as a prophetic oracular psalm speaking of the Messiah to come.

Let me read it to you:

“Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. 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 beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.” (NIV 1984)

Wow. What a prophetic psalm!

Now, here’s what Jesus points out to the Pharisees.

Who wrote this psalm?

What does the superscription say in verse 1?

“Of David.”

King David wrote this psalm.

Jesus says, “David, speaking by the Spirit” wrote Psalm 110.

And we all know that Psalm 110 is talking about the Messiah.

So, whose son is he?

Look at verse 1 again and see who is talking.

David says, “The LORD (that’s Yahweh, that’s God, that’s the covenant Lord of Israel, the LORD) says to “my Lord.”

My overlord.

Who is he talking about?

That’s the Messiah.

David says that God is talking to the Messiah who we thought was supposed to be David’s son, but is apparently David’s Lord?!

#2. THE LORD OF DAVID.

This is hard for them to understand. Jesus asks (other finger), Matthew 22, verse 45:

“If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?’”

Now, to understand how confusing this was for them, you have to understand how they thought about the relationship between fathers and sons.

They thought that fathers were always greater than sons.

Sons come from fathers so they achieve their greatness through them.

And you fathers are all like, “Yeah.” looking down the row.

“Are you listening?”

In their mindset, the sons may achieve amazing greatness, but the fathers can always take some credit for that just by being the head of the line.

It’s not our notion.

I don’t tell my three awesome sons that they derive their greatness from me.

They would just laugh anyway.

But that’s how these folks thought.

And but Jesus is blowing their minds.

He is saying, notice who wrote Psalm 110.

It was great David.

And we know that he was talking about his son the Messiah.

That’s right. The Messiah is David’s son.

But David thought that the Messiah was going to be greater even than him.

And that he couldn’t take credit for it.

That David himself would call this Messiah his Lord.

Younger in age but superior in rank.

And that idea left the Pharisees speechless.

This Messiah was to be great David’s greater Son.

So much that David would have to bow before Him.

They are really not going to like this.

Because it means that they are going to have to bow before Jesus.

Jesus is clearly claiming to be the Messiah.

The ride in on the donkey on Palm Sunday made that obvious.

And so He is clearly claiming to be greater than David.

Descended from David but dominating David.

And I would argue, not just dominating but divine.

Look at what God told David’s Lord in verse 44 of Matthew 22 or verse 1 of Psalm 110.

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Come over here, and sit here. Right here. Right next to me.

At the place of power.
At the place of honor.
At the place of majesty.
At the place of authority.

“Sit at my right hand,” says Yahweh.

Whom would Yahweh say that to?

Whom does God talk to like that?

I guess He might use that kind of language in a qualified foreshadowing way to talk about the King of Israel, maybe.

But the author of Hebrews says He doesn’t even talk like that to the angels. Hebrews quotes Psalm 110 and says, “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?” Answer, “None of them.”

This is how God talks to God.

This is how God the Father talks to God the Son.

The Messiah is:

#3. THE SON OF GOD.

He’s not just the Son of David.

And not even just the Lord of David.

He is the Son of the living God.

“Sit at my right hand.”

Wow. Just wow.

Do search in your Bible app this afternoon on the words, “right hand,” and look at all of the references in the New Testament.

The New Testament authors recognized the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of Psalm 110 verse 1.

On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter closed his sermon with Psalm 110.

He said, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’"

Keep your eye on the ball.

This is Who Jesus is.

And this should shape every second our lives.

The Apostle Paul says that it should affect what we think about every day.

Colossians 4 verses 1-2.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and [what?] sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

This is Who Jesus is.

He is the Son of God!

That’s what Christians believe.

We aren’t just following some guy.

Certainly not just some dead guy from long ago.

We are following the risen and ascended Son of God who is seated at the right hand of God.

And that means that He is:

#4. THE LORD OF ALL.

“Sit at my right hand” when?

“Until I put your enemies under your feet.”

Psalm 110 promises the ultimate victory of the Messiah over all of His enemies.

The LORD is going to do it.

He will use methods and means. He will use His people, the church. He will use the Cross and the Resurrection.

And He will use His Spirit.

And He will bring justice and final judgment.

All of His enemies will ultimately fail.

Read Psalm 110 and have your imagination lit on fire.

I’m not sure what all of the phrases mean, but I can tell that they are good!

V.2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

V.5 The Lord is at your right hand [I think that means the Father will be at the right hand of the Son, meaning that He will sustain Him]; 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.

Read Revelation 19 to see how this is finally fulfilled.

“He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.”

And be refreshed. And enjoy His victory and vindication.

The Son of God will win over all.

He will be victorious.
He will be undefeated.
He will be vindicated.
He will reign and rule for ever and ever and ever. Amen.

In the Ancient Near East, when a king won a battle, He would often put his foot on the neck of the king he just defeated.

The ultimate flex.

The ultimate in photo-ops.

Proving symbolically that He ruled over His enemy.

In Psalm 110, the LORD says the David’s Lord that one day every enemy of His will be His footstool.

The Messiah will be Lord of all.

Interestingly, He does this by being a priest and offering a special sacrifice.

Jesus doesn’t go into it in Matthew 22, so we won’t linger there.

But Psalm 110 says this Davidic Ruler will not just be a king but king/priest, a royal priest in the order of Melchizedek. Remember him?

He was the king/priest of Salem a foreshadowing of how someone could be both king and priest at the same time.

Like Jesus.

And the sacrifice of King Jesus was the sacrifice of Himself.

Jesus is Lord of all and He is the Savior of all who will put their faith in Him.

Have you trusted in Jesus as the Christ?

Keep your eye on the ball. This is Who He is!

Have you put your faith in the Son of David, the Lord of David, the Son of God, and the Lord of All?

Because this is Who He is. And this is what is going to happen.

“Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”

Satan, sin, and even death.

Paul quotes Psalm 110 in 1 Corinthians 15 when he talks about the resurrection.

He says “For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he ‘has put everything under his feet.’”

It’s already happened in the Cross and one day, it will happen fully and finally and forever.

Because Jesus Christ is Lord.

That’s what we should think of the Christ.


***


Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David
55. Expecting Fruit
56. Come to the Wedding Banquet
57. Whose Image?
58. Acing the Test

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