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TEXT: Luke 20:41-44
SUBJECT: Luke #79: David's Lord-and Yours!
Turnabout is fair play.
In the first forty verses of our chapter, the enemies of Christ have attacked Him with a series of questions. Their aim in asking them was not to find the truth, but to make a monkey out of the Lord. His answers, however, were so wise and cunning that it was they who went home swinging on vines to pick the bugs out of each other's fur!
No one ever handled a Press Conference like the Lord Jesus Christ did. The public admired Him and even the men who were out to get Him couldn't help saying,
"Teacher, You have spoken well!"
The give-and-take of that day showed the Lord for what He was and is: a Wise Man even " greater than Solomon"
At the end of the chapter, the tables are turned on the press corps. Now, the Man at the podium has a question for them. Since they're all fine Bible scholars, it ought to be a snap for them. Surely, the teachers of Israel can handle it with ease.
He starts with a premise that every Bible-believing Jew accepts: Christ is David's son. The Messiah will be born into the family of David and will one day take the throne of His father, defeat the enemies of Israel, and rule the nation in peace and justice. Nearly everyone believes that.And rightly so: for it's the plain teaching of the Bible.
In II Samuel 7, God promised an enduring throne to David-a royal house that would never fall. The promise wouldn't be fulfilled in David himself, but-first in his sons (Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, and so on), and then-in a fuller sense-in David's Son, the Messiah who would set up a Rule even greater than the Golden Kingdoms of the past.
David is the head of the royal family, and one day a Son will be born who is worthy of His great father. He's the Messiah; the Christ; the long hoped-for King.
Christ is David's Son.
But, if that's true, why does David call his own Son, "Lord"? Can you imagine you own father calling you that-something like, Sir-only more?
This would be weird and unnatural even today. But back then-when the old were held in high reverence-it was unheard of for a father to honor his son in such a way. In Egypt, Jacob bowed low to Pharaoh, but not to his son Joseph. It would have been unseemly to do that. A disgrace to Jacob and an embarrassment to his son, the Prime Minister.
To prove that David felt just that way about his Son, the Messiah, the Lord quotes from Psalm 110:
"The LORD said to my Lord,
'Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies
It's said a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but here, it can be helpful. The Psalms were written in Hebrew, of course, and David used two separate words for "Lord".
The first word is YHWH or Jehovah. The second is Adoni, which means Lord or King. David is saying-in short-that God has set a King over him. That King David has a King, too.
And this King-unlike David-is seated in heaven and in the process of making all His enemies into His footstool. Archaeologists have found carvings from the Ancient Near East in which kings literally did this: their foes were forced to lie down in front of them and they put their feet up on them. This was a sharp symbol of the king's victory and Lordship.
So.if Christ is David's Son, why does David call Him Lord?
The easy answer is to say he was mistaken. Maybe he got carried away in the excitement of being the Messiah's father and joined the others who were bowing to Him.
The problem with this answer is that David did not say this as a private man, but as a prophet, an inspired man who put down in the Psalm precisely what God wanted him to. In Matthew's account of the same story, he puts in something Luke leaves out. He says,
"How then does David-in the Spirit-call Him, Lord?"
The Spirit is the Holy Spirit who led David and others in writing God's Word-and not just their opinions on it. Peter says this word-the prophetic word-is "of no private origin"-David didn't think it up for himself, but got it from heaven-straight from the mouth of God.
No Jew who respected the Bible or (valued his life) would say such a thing in public.
And so, not knowing what to say about it, the scribes do the right thing--and say nothing.
THE IMMEDIATE GOAL
The Lord's first goal in asking the question is to expose the scribes for what they were: phonies! They weren't just bad men, not living up to the Holy Word they taught, they were bad teachers!
They don't know what their Bibles and they should not be trusted to teach God's will to His people. The scribes must have been bitterly offended by this. They had studied the Word all their lives and had committed much of it to memory. But knowing what the Bible says is not the same as knowing what it teaches!
Many heretics know the Bible, but they don't understand it; they can quote verses at you all day long, but they twist the meaning of the verses. It's not the sounds of the Bible that matter, but the content.
The scribes who came to embarrass the Lord Jesus Christ go home with red faces: the Lord has made fools of them. That's the first goal and it was fully met.
THE BIGGER ISSUE
The main thing, however, is not that the Lord is smarter than the scribes are or debates better they do. Everyone knows that-even the scribes!
The bigger issue is who the Lord is in relationship to Israel's greatest king, David.
If you know David's story at all, you know he was the most successful man to rule the nation. The first king was Saul, but he was a failure and died of suicide after losing a key battle to the Philistines. Solomon was both richer and wiser than David, but his riches were chiefly built on his father's planning. As for his wisdom-he had plenty of it-but it did not keep him from becoming a fool and throwing away the kingdom his father entrusted to him. The later kings were mere shadows of David-most were bad, and even the good ones ruled over kingdoms much smaller than David's.
And so, there's no doubt that David was the most illustrious king Israel ever had. In later years, God's people looked back on his reign with a warm nostalgia and a dim hope that it might be revived some day.
But look what the Lord says about David's Son! He says even David bends the knee to Him. In other words, David's Son would be far greater than David himself was.
Who is this Son of David?
The Lord Jesus Christ.
This is implied in today's story. What's the Lord doing but comparing Himself to the scribes? The ones who claim to speak for God and rule His people are unworthy of the calling. But the Man from Nazareth is worthy of it because He is the Christ, David's Son and David's Lord!
What is hinted at in the story is made plain in other places. When standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus admitted that He was what His accusers said He claimed to be: A King! His disciples felt that way about Him, and on the Day of Pentecost, many others came to agree with them. The Church has always confessed the Lordship of Christ-even when it cost them dearly to do it. When the Romans menaced them with sword, fire, and lions, the young Christians held on to their confession-Not Caesar, but-
"Jesus is Lord!"
And helpful as these witnesses are, however, there is One greater who speaks with a Higher Authority. God calls Jesus the Lord! It is not the Church, but God who
"Gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!"
Many do this of their own will. Others aren't so willing, but willing or not, God will beat a confession out of them at last: angels, demons, saints, and sinners will one day agree: Jesus is Lord!
This is the truth. It's not my truth, but the truth-your truth as well as mine-as true for Satan as it is for the Archangel! The Man who died on the cross long ago is now-and forever-the King-your king, my king, everyone's king-King of kings and Lord of lords!
The significance is not hard to find. If Jesus is Lord, then He has every right to rule you and you are bound to obey Him. Not just the parts of His Rule that you agree with, but all parts of it-including the ones that you don't like and will make you look foolish to your friends and out-of-step with them.
If He is Lord of all, then all are His servants. Some willingly, others not. But like it or not, Jesus is Lord.
So why not like it? Why not be thankful that God has promoted such a Man to be your King? Who would rather have? The devil? Saddam Hussein? The Pope? George W. Bush? Bill Gates? Michael Jackson? Me? You? No, no one is fit to be the King, but the Lord Jesus Christ! Why don't you love Him for it and make His loving will your own?
You ought to because your King is also your Savior. When God exalted Christ, He made this carpenter into a Prince-but what kind of prince? The kind that "Gives repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins".
You ought to love a King who knows what you've been up to-and still loves you and offers pardon on the condition you apologize for your sins and put your trust in Him.
In the days our Lord walked among us, the people of God were under a heavy burden of rules and regulations, each with a severe penalty attached to it. To the weary and scared people, He offered relief and a better service:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light".
That's the Gospel offer: trade in your slavery for His freedom. The offer is real and sincere and made to you! From the bottom of God's bottomless heart!
If the happiness of serving Christ won't get you to do it, then let the danger of not serving Him do the job! Kings have a right to rule, but that's not their only right: they also have a right and duty to judge their servants and to mete out the punishment the disobedient have earned.
Christ has that right, and one day, He will exercise it. For good or bad. If you can't be loved into the Kingdom, then be scared into it. In any event, get into the Kingdom, but believing in and submitting to its King, David's Son and Lord.
The Lord Jesus Christ.
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