The Pharisees ask Which is the Greatest Commandment, Matt. 22:34-46

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together.  35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.  39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,  42 saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”  43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,  44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet? 45 If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?”  46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions. Matt. 22:34-46

The Pharisees heard that their adversaries the Sadducees had been silenced. Instead of thanking Messiah for this help, they decided that they could be a better job at getting rid of this tiresome itinerant rabbi of no letters. After all, they too were losing their influence over the people to this Messiah.

Like any good Yeshiva student, Messiah answers what is the great commandment by quoting the Scriptures:

. . . and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deut. 6:5

You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.  Lev. 19:18 

His Question

Now, Jesus turns the tide with a question they cannot answer. Taking a verse from the Psalms He asked, how can the son of David also be his Lord?

The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.”  Psa. 110:1

How can David’s son be a LORD over David? Scripture is stating that the Messiah is not only the son of David, born in the flesh but, also David’s Adoni, or Master. The Messiah was pointing out that someone will be both a literal son of David and the Lord and Master of all Creation. The Messiah is God in the flesh. He silenced their questions.

The rest of the psalm is what the rabbis could accept: a mighty Messiah that rules the nations who is prophet, priest, and king. However, they are stumped by “The LORD says to my lord”. The Pharisee’s overlooked that which they did not understand, which caused them to reject their Messiah!

Son of David

gentreeOne supposes that by this time someone had gone through the temple’s library of genealogical information and discovered that this man was indeed a son of David on both sides. Someone has discovered Messiah is a son of David.

Matthew presents the genealogy of Joseph while Luke provides the genealogy of Mary. [Matt 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38]  We are certain of this because the Talmud tells us that Mary was the daughter of Heli.

Luke’s genealogy had been written in a Jewish cultural context stating Joseph was also a son of Heli, Mary’s father. This would only have been possible if Mary was an only child or the oldest of all daughters. Mary’s husband Joseph therefore, was considered her father’s son by marriage; by reason of  inheritance not having a current male heir of Heli.

Mary’s lineage descended from David by his son Nathan. Joseph’s lineage was from David, through his son Solomon, and included all the kings of Judah. Mary and Joseph were both descendant from Judah and David, and therefore very distant cousins.

Next Week: Keep the Law, but not the Lawyers