Christ, David's son and David's Lord
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:41-46
Psalm 110, which our Lord quotes here, implies that David is not only the son of David but also the Son of God, which is why David can call him Lord. “Whose son is he?” Not just David’s son; he must also be God’s son. And I think his adversaries understood what Jesus was implying. They didn’t say so at the time (46) because they didn’t want to be backed into a corner and humiliated, but when they had Jesus in their power, before they crucified him, the high priest asked him, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” To which our Lord replies, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mt. 26:63-64). Whether or not they understood Jesus to be the Son of God, they certainly understood that that is what Jesus himself had claimed and they asked him to verify it. Which he did.
Jesus is the Son of David, yes. He is the one in whom God’s promises to David would be fulfilled. He is the one who would take David’s throne and reign forever. However, to bring about these promises, the Messiah had to be more than just the son of David. He had to be the Son of God. For bringing in the kingdom required redeeming a people who would make up that kingdom. And that required becoming a sacrifice for their sin and obtaining for them the forgiveness of sins, acceptance with God, a status of righteousness, and adoption into God’s family. No mere man could ever have done this. If Jesus is only the son of David, we are sunk. But he is not. He is also the Son of God, “able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
This is why the apostle Paul begins his epistle to the Romans by reminding his readers of the twin truths that Jesus is the son of David and the Son of God. He begins: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:1-4). The gospel depends on these two realities being true.
Jesus is the Son of God. Now what does that mean? There has been a lot of controversy through the centuries over the Divine Sonship of our Lord. Many understand this to mean that Jesus at one point or another became the Son of God when he was created or conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, much as Adam is called the son of God in Luke 3:38. Many therefore are willing to call Jesus the Son of God while simultaneously denying his Divinity and his eternal pre-existence. Perhaps the most serious debate in the early church had to do with this very issue. The Nicene Creed was issued in A.D. 325 primarily to deal with the heresy of Arianism, which denied the real divinity of Christ. Today, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons deny the true divinity of Jesus Christ, while being willing to call him the Son of God. But at the end of the day, they still say that there was a point in which Jesus did not exist or a point at which he was created. Is this consistent with the Biblical view of Christ as the Son of God?
To hold the Biblical doctrine of who Jesus is, we must confess that he is the Son of God who has existed from all eternity, co-equal with the Father in dignity, glory, and power, that he has always been and always will be God. As the Nicene Creed puts it, “I believe . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”
So may God give us all eyes to see that the glory of Christ is the glory of the Son of God. He is worthy of your confidence, trust, hope, obedience, and worship. He is the one who is seating at the Father’s right hand, waiting until all the enemies of God are put under his feet and conquered once and for all. And because he is the Son of God, we can be sure that this will happen. There is coming a day, more sure than the morning sun, when every knee will bow to Jesus. He is bringing his kingdom and it will surely come. And may all reading this know that he is a gracious Lord and Savior. All who come to him he will never cast out. Though our sins are as scarlet he can make them white as wool. Are you weary of your sins? Then come to him: “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”