Understanding Matt. 22:41-45 (If David Calleth Him Lord, How is He His Son?)
The scribes and Pharisees were perplexed at the idea of Christ calling himself the Son of the Most High. They would often question Christ’s authority by asking him things such as, by who’s authority doest thou these things (Matt. 21:23, Mark 11:27-28). It is this constant argument which led Christ to making the following statement:
“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?” (Matt. 22:43-45)
What was Christ saying? Was he stating that David was not his father? Let us now examine the full story to gain the complete sense of what was being said.
Matt. 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Matt.22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. Matt. 22:43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,Matt. 22:44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? Matt. 22:45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? Matt.22:46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
Another account of this story can be found in Luke 20:
Luke 20:41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s son? Luke 20:42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Luke 20:43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. Luke 20:44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
In order to fully understand what Christ is saying, we must focus on the premise of the argument. The premise of the argument is to prove that Christ’s authority is from on heaven and not from man. The scribes and Pharisees being carnal, didn’t realize that even though Christ came from the seed of David, David himself honored Christ as his Lord:
Psa. 110:1 [[A Psalm of David.]] The LORD (the Lord being referred to here is the Most High) said unto my Lord (the Lord being referred to here is Christ), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
David acknowledged the order of Christ being his head (1Cor. 11:3) and by doing so honored him as Lord. Is Christ saying that David is not his father in the flesh? Absolutely not:
Rev. 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
The prophecies of solidify the fact that Christ would come through the loins of David (Isa.11:1;10, Jer. 23:5-6, Ezek. 37:24-25, Luke 1:32-33, Acts 2:29-30). This is not the argument. What Christ was doing was showing that his authority came from on high and not from David. Neither did he come on earth to perform the will of David. His mission was dedicated to the Most High who was his Father from the beginning.
John 5:30 In order to fully understand what Christ was saying, we must focus on the premise of the argument. The premise of the argument is to prove that Christ’s authority is from on heaven and not from man.
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
This is similar to another argument that Christ had with scribes and Pharisees concerning his authority. Only this time, Abraham is used as an example:
John 8:50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
Christ is once again showing us that he’s the one. If a man keep his sayings not, Abraham’s or David’s sayings, will recieve everlasting life (This doesn’t diminish that the likes of Abraham and Davidwere righteous men. But as Christ will explain, though Abraham was his father in the flesh, Abraham himself desired to see the day of Christ and honored him as Lord).
John 8:52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. John 8:53Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
What they couldn’t understand was that Abraham and the prophets all prophesied of Christ and that he was Lord of them all. Christ didn’t make himself a Prophet or the Son of the Most High. As the scripture saith, everything he recieved was given him of the Father:
John 8:54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: John 8:55 Yet ye have not known him;but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
As David was shown the glory of Christ through Spirit, Abraham was shown the same the thing. In fact, the offering of his son Isaac was a similitude of what the Most High would do with His Son. The scribes and Pharisees once again couldn’t understand this and sought to try to confound Christ.
John 8:57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Before Abraham was, Christ existed and was already being reverenced as the Son of the Most High. As we can see, this example further reveals the true understanding of Matt. 22 concerning Christ being the Lord of David opposed to his son.
Did he proceed from David? Yes.
Was David his Father according to the Spirit? No
Did He come to do the will of David? No
Did David himself honor Christ as Lord? Yes
May the Most High Be With You All,