King's Business - 1942-04



April, 1942

think ye of the Christ?” (cf. R. V.). He is not here asking the Pharisees their opinion of Himself. He knew what that was, of course, as He knows all things. But He is asking them to commit themselves openly. as to their doctrine of “the Messiah.” On the b^sis of Old Testament prophecy, our Lord knew that the Pharisees be­ lieved there would be some day a “Messiah” sent from God; and there­ fore He asks them a question regard­ ing Messiah’s human origin which could have been answered by any Jewish schoolboy of the time: Whose son would Messiah be when he came? Without the slightest hesitation or difference of 'opinion, they gave the right answer: He would be “the son of David.” The Pharisees were not wrong in everything. They at least believed s in the reality of predictive prophecy and the literality of its interpretation, and in these respects they were im­ mensely superior to the more modern Pharisees who continually deny these things. 3. "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" (v. 45). This was the question that Christ had in mind when He asked the first one. The ' first question was only intended to maneuver the enemy into a position where he would become completely vulnerable to the real attack. And it should be noted here that when our Lord launched His most important question, it had to do with the doc­ trine of the Person of Messiah. Per­ haps for -the first time, these Phari­ sees were brought face to face with the fact that the Messiah would be not only the “son of David” .(which they believed), but also the "Lord" of David. In other words, Messiah would be both human and divine, both God and Man. Thus our blessed Lord found the Christian doctrine of His own Person in Psalm 110, and laid the foundation for the great church creeds formulated at Nicaea and Chalcedon. And it may be added here that a correct view of the Person of Christ forms the true base of all other Christian doctrine. If men go wrong on this point, everything else will be wrong. If Christ was not the “son of David,” then Calvary was only a divine farce. If He was not the “Lord” of David, then Calvary •was only another human tragedy. In either case, there would be no Saviour. Only one who is both God and Man could be Saviour of the world.

for the purpose of teaching the people according to the writings of Moses. He exhorted His disciples to avoid the example which these leaders were setting, but to give obedience to the divine teaching which they pro­ claimed. Thus Jesus puts His stamp of ap­ proval upon all that Moses wrote. It is not what the scribes taught but what Moses taught that was to form the foundation of the people’s obedi­ ence. The reason for this was that what Moses taught was from God; thus all teaching in accord with Moses was to be obeyed throughout the dispensation. III. E xposing P ride (23:4-11) It is sad to relate that these scribes and Pharisees engaged in their reli­ gious rites and ceremonies, not for the spiritual benefit they might de­ rive from them, but for the applause of men. The phylacteries and the en­ larged borders on their garments (cf. Num. 15:37, 38; Deut. 6:4-8; 22:121 were proud claims to a holiness that now did not exist These religious leaders desired the chief places at feasts and in syna­ gogues, and sought greetings in pub­ lic places, as though they were a superior class. It would appear that they longed to be recognized as mas­ ters, with the common people their slaves. Thus human nature manifests the spirit that stirred Adam and Eve to commit sin in the garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 3:1-6). Our Lord warned His disciples that they were to be unlike the Pharisees, caliing neither themselves nor others “masters,” as though one could be regarded as being better than another. All were to be equal, with one com­ mon Master, the Lord in heaven. The greatness of the disciples would be revealed in their humility and their service one to another,—the outward expression of an inner work of grace in the heart. Points and Problems 1. "Jesus asked them” (Matt. 22:41). Our Lord had just emerged victorious from attacks by the three Jewish par­ ties: first, the Herodians (v. 16) ; then, the Sadducees (v. 23) ; and finally, the Pharisees (v. 34). Each group had tried to “ entangle Him in his talk” (v. 15) by shooting questions at Him. But now, having successfully avoided all the dialectical dilemmas of His enemies, He turns the tables and begins to ask them some ques­ tions of His own. The defender of the Christian faith may learn something here—it is never wise to let the ene­ mies of Christianity ask all the ques­ tions. 2. "What think ye of Christ?" (v. 42). The question really reads, “What


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