41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, 44‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘? 45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Jesus names the question that’s on everyone’s lips—who is the Messiah? In the preceding chapter, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, appropriating one of the prophetic symbols of the Messiah. The adoring crowds shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” indicating their approval of Jesus as worthy of a messianic greeting and acknowledging that he, as Israel’s Messiah, belongs to the line of King David. The Pharisees are nonplussed, uninterested in the people’s enthusiasm. So Jesus asks a question—if David calls Israel’s anointed Lord, how can he be his son? The relationship Jesus questions is intentionally confusing. David, Israel’s greatest King, was to be the ancestor of the Messiah. In Jesus he was; but Jesus subverted the people’s expectations of who the Messiah would be. He wasn’t just going to be a civil or military leader, or even just a king. He would be Lord, God’s anointed, appointed above all to rule. Of course the Pharisees, leaders in their own way, were confused. They equated leadership with power. Jesus exercised power through powerlessness. Jesus shows what the reign of God looks like—love, not power.
Holy God, we praise you, for in Jesus Christ, your anointed Son, you showed your people a new way, a better way. Give us your Spirit to lead us in Christ’s way, in paths of peace, following in your reign of love. We pray in Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Art: Christ the King of Kings, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55319 [retrieved May 18, 2020]. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_King_of_Kings_(Greece,_c._1600).jpg.