The various religious sects peppered Jesus with controversial questions to trip Him up, but He masterfully responded to each, driving home the truth and foiling His enemies’ schemes (Matthew 22). Then Jesus asked, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” (Matthew 22:42). When Jesus went on the offensive, they were not prepared to answer His questions. They thought Jesus was the son of David, but Jesus’ follow up question revealed more.
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 22:43-46.)
Jesus quotes Psalm 110, saying “David in spirit” to indicate that David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote this prophecy of Christ (cf. 2 Peter 1:21). In regard to the Psalms, David asserted that the Holy Spirit spoke by him, giving words to his tongue (2 Samuel 23:1-2).
Unlike the attitude of many today, the first-century Jews held the conviction that one who came earlier in a genealogy was thought to be greater. On one occasion Jesus was asked, “Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? (John 8:53). Even the Samaritans held this ideal. The Samaritan woman at the well asked Jesus, “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” (John 4:12). Jesus correctly interprets the prophecy of Psalm 110 and applies it to Himself. David, by inspiration, called Jesus “Lord” when “the Lord” (God the Father) “said to my Lord” (the Son) “Sit thou on my right hand…” (Psalm 110:1). Jesus was the physical descendant of David (Matthew 1:1). But He was David’s Lord because He is divine. He is the Son of God.
This truth is the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:16-19). It is the basis of salvation (John 8:24; 20:31). By Jesus’ question, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians were brought face to face with this truth. They would not answer the question because they rejected anything that would not give them power. When we answer this question rightly, we lose all power. If Jesus really is Lord, as David, by inspiration, wrote, then His word reigns supreme in my life. It does no good to call Him Lord and not do His will (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46). You are confronted with this question every day. You may push it from your mind or refuse to answer it, but by doing that you actually have given your answer. By how you live your life you answer this question. Will you proclaim Jesus as Lord by doing His will? Will you follow the Son of God?