There were three elderly women going down the highway. A cop comes up on them and sees how slow the driver is going. He pulls the car over. He asks the driver, “Ma’am, do you know that you’re only going 23 miles per hour?” “Yes,” said the driver. The cop asked, “Well why were you going so slow on the highway?” She says, “Well the sign says 23.” The cop says “Ma’am that’s the highway number, not the miles per hour.” She says,“OHHHH!!!” He looks at the other two ladies in the car and asks her, “Why do the other ladies look so terrified?” She says, “Well we just got off of Highway 151!”
The driver was in trouble because she misread the signs. That’s the mistake the Pharisees make in Matthew 22. They had the Christ standing right there in front of them, and they didn’t recognize him because they misread the signs! They were so busy looking for the kind of Christ that THEY wanted, that they ended up missing the real Christ!
We do the same thing. We think of Jesus as a nice guy with a beard and a mustache who’s always ready to love and forgive us. That is one side of Jesus. But we’re going to find out today that the Lord Jesus Christ is even more exalted than what we imagine Him to be!
We’re going to see that the revelation of Christ’s Lordship challenges conventional wisdom. And the revelation of Christ’s Lordship challenges the way we live our lives.
We’re in Matthew 22. Beginning in verse 15, the religious leaders try trapping Jesus by asking three difficult questions. The first question is political: “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” The second question is theological: “If a woman marries seven different men, and they all die, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?” The third question is legal: “Out of all the commandments, which one is the greatest?”
And Jesus answers each question and hits it out of the park! People are amazed! The religious leaders are humiliated!
So now in Matthew 22:41, Jesus says “All right. You’ve been asking me questions. Now I’m going to ask you some questions! What do you think about the Christ?”
Now with all the other questions, the leaders are trying to get Jesus off the message. They want to sidetrack Him with peripheral issues.
But with this question, He gets back to the most important question of them all: “What do YOU think about the Christ?”
Now Jesus raises a similar question with His disciples back in Matthew 16. “Who do men say that I am?” The disciples reply “Some say Elijah. Some say John the Baptist, some say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Jesus says, “What about you? Who do you say that I am?
Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So the unschooled fisherman gets an A on His midterm exam. Now let’s see how the Pharisees do on their test. Jesus says to them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?”
Without batting en eyelash, the Pharisees reply, “The Son of David.”
The conventional wisdom of first century Judaism is that the Christ is a descendant of King David. And there’s scripture to back it up. Psalm 89:36 says that David’s line will continue forever, and his throne will endure before me like the sun.”
And Isaiah 9:7 says that the son that God gives will reign upon the throne of David from that time on and forever. So the conventional wisdom is right. The Christ is the Son of David. 2 Timothy 2:8 says “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel.”
The problem is that the conventional wisdom of the Pharisees only gives us a limited picture of what the Christ is like. Yes, He’s the Son of David. But He’s also the Son of GOD. He’s the King of Kings! He’s the Bread of Life! He’s the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last! The beginning and the end! The Lord Jesus Christ is so great and so awesome and so powerful that if we had any clue as to who we’re dealing with, we would forget about everything else and stand up on our feet and shout —Nothing in this entire world can be more important than worshipping and loving and cherishing the Lord Jesus Christ!
But the leaders are unable to see any of this. For example, four blind men who stumble into a pit where an elephant has already fallen. They say, “What is this thing in here with us, so much greater than we are?” They start touching it. One person thinks it’s a wall and one person thinks it’s a tree, and one person touches the trunk and thinks it’s a snake and one person touches the tusks and thinks they’re spears.
Because of their blindness, each person has a limited vision of what’s in the room with them. But they can’t see it for all that it is.
That’s the problem with the leaders. They have partial insight into the Christ. But because of their blindness, they can’t see Him for all that he is. Do we have that problem today? Maybe you can see Jesus as the One who died on the cross for your sins. But you can’t see Him as the One who can help you get through this time of economic downturn. You can’t see Him as the One who provides for all your needs.
Or maybe you can see Jesus as the One who will come again like a thief in the night. But you can’t see Him as someone who answers the prayers of His people. You can’t see Him as the One who binds up broken marriages. You can’t see Him as the One who gets involved with our everyday lives.
Like the Pharisees, we need a fuller picture of who the Christ is. And Jesus wants to help us! He says to the leaders “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
They say, “The Son of David.”
Jesus says “Well how is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord?” For he says, The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”
This is a quote from Psalm 110, where the Lord God says to the Christ, “Sit at my right hand.” This Psalm gets quoted 37 times in the New Testament. And I can see why. Because this passage has one of the most complete pictures of Christ. In verse one, we see Christ the Lord. In verse three, we see Christ the king. In verse four, we see Christ the priest. In verses 4-7, we see Christ as God’s agent in the judgment of the world. Psalm 110 is a beautiful, holistic portrait of Christ the Lord.
But for now, Jesus quotes only the first verse of Psalm 110 because he wants the Pharisees to see that the Christ is not just the Son of David. He’s the LORD of David! The word “Lord” literally means “master,” or “boss.” So if Jesus Christ is Lord, then He’s the boss! He gets to call the shots! He gets to make the rules! Reminds me of the husband who’s been arguing with his wife. He says “it’s about time we find out who the boss is. Then he says, “You’re the boss.” When we make Christ Lord, we have to say “Lord Jesus, you’re the boss.”
The problem is that too many of us are ready to receive Jesus as our Savior, but refusing to accept Him as our Lord. Too many of us are giving the Lord lip service, but we’re not ready to give Him life service. We say “I want Jesus to live in my heart, but only if I get to be the boss! I’ll accept Jesus, but only if I can keep living with my girlfriend without getting married! I’ll accept Jesus, but only if He lets me get drunk with my buddies on the weekend. I’ll accept Jesus, but only if He lets me skip church on Sunday.”