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*35 *And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
*36 *David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, \\ Sit at my right hand, \\ until I put your enemies under your feet.’
*37 *David himself calls him Lord.
So how is he his son?”
And the great throng heard him gladly.
*38 *And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces *39 *and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, *40 *who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.
They will receive the greater condemnation.”
*41 *And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.
Many rich people put in large sums.
*42 *And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
*43 *And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
*44 *For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
The past couple of weeks we have been discussing the question of Jesus’ authority, and that theme continues in this passage.
Jesus has been challenged about his claim to authority and then tested to prove the extent to which his authority would prevail.
Now the questions have ended and Jesus goes on the offensive, asking his own question in verse 35 and then contrasting the religious practice of the scribes with the faith of a poor widowed lady.
Jesus is the new boss.
His authority changes everything.
In this text we see the authority of Jesus applied to three specific areas.
The authority of Jesus changes how we interpret Scripture, how we live out our faith in the world, and how we worship God.
In verses 35-37, Jesus stakes his own theological challenge.
“How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?” he asks (v.
Though no biblical text specifically says that the Messiah would be a descendent from David, this was the standard understanding of the day.
And for good reason.
God had made a covenant with David, promising him that his kingdom would be established through his descendents and that his throne would be “established forever” (2 Sam 7:12-16).
The Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C. had brought the monarchy to an end.
But the prophets foretold of a restoration of the Davidic kingdom.
‎‎‎/For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, ‎‎‎and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness ‎‎‎from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this/.
(Isa 9:6-7; see also Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23)
‎‎‎‎‎‎About a century before Jesus, Jewish religious literature made explicit this Davidic hope, referring to the Messiah as the son of David.[1]
Jesus is challenging one of the most widely held beliefs and hopes of his day.
!! Who is David's Lord?
But his challenge comes in light of what David wrote in Psalm 110.
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’” (v.
Jesus notes that David refers to the Messiah as his “Lord,” raising the question of how Messiah could be David’s son if he is David’s superior.
The answer is of course obvious to us Christians today: Jesus, the Messiah, is /both/ David’s human descendent and also the Son of God.
But let’s look closer at Jesus' argument.
Jesus appeals to the inspiration of Scripture to make his argument.
“David himself, /in the Holy Spirit/, declared.”
Psalm 110 is considered by Jesus to be Holy Scripture, meaning it is given to us by the revelation and authority of God.
The first “Lord” in Psalm 110 is /Yahweh/, but the second “Lord” is /adonai/.
The question is the subject of the second “Lord” (/adonai/).
Psalm 110 is an enthronement psalm; the words were used at the inauguration of the kings of Israel.
But with the end of the monarchy the Psalm began to be seen as Messianic, and David’s “Lord” was understood to be a great Messianic king who would reestablish the monarchy to the point where it would never fail again.
#. ‎‎‎While we have no problem with the idea of one’s descendent being greater than himself, both Jewish and Roman cultures did.
For them, it was the patriarchs who were the “lords” of their families, and so Jesus points out the significance of this Davidic submission.
Jesus’ point must have been taken, because he apparently silences his opponents with this word.
!! Son of David and Son of God
Of course, Jesus is not denying that the Messiah is a descendent of David.
Rather, he is pointing out that he must be much more than a descendent.
He must be both a descendent as well as David’s superior.
And Jesus contends that he is David’s superior because the Messiah is also the Son of God.
There are two pointers to that conclusion in this text.
‎‎‎‎‎‎First, as we mentioned earlier, in Psalm 110 there are two different Hebrew words for the translation “Lord.”
But in Greek, it is the same word in both places, /kurios/.
Why is that significant?
Because as Mark has arranged the material, we saw the word /kurios/ just a few verses earlier, in verse 29: “The Lord (/kurios/) our God, the Lord (/kurios/) is one.”
There is only one /kurios/, and yet here we have Jesus claiming that title for himself as the Messiah.
‎‎‎Second, notice that Jesus quotes the entirety of Psalm 110:1.
It is only the first line of that verse that Jesus utilizes to make his point that David refers to Messiah as his Lord (“The Lord said to my Lord”).
But Jesus wants to press his audience further into the implications of his identity as David’s Lord.
He is the one who sits at God’s right hand, the highest ranking that one could possibly achieve short of usurpation.[2] From there he waits until God deposes his enemies, putting them under his feet.
The enemies of the Messiah are God’s enemies, destined for certain destruction.[3]
These are bold claims that Jesus is making for himself.
!! God’s plan unfolds in Jesus
Again to Christian ears there is nothing surprising about these claims.
But to those who confuse God’s kingdom with the kingdom of man, this is a clarifying text.
Jesus shows us that we have to interpret the mystery of God’s plan revealed to us in Scripture through his Messiah.
As David’s son there is continuity to this age, but as God’s Son there is also discontinuity.
He has come to establish a different kind of kingdom than the only other kind we are familiar with.
Not that his kingdom doesn’t impact the kingdoms of this age, but at the same time it challenges us to see beyond it.
The next section, verses 38-40, brings to light the tension between the uniqueness of God’s kingdom and how that kingdom impacts life in this age.
The connection to the preceding is Jesus’ concentration on the scribes.
In the previous paragraph Jesus questions the scribes’ interpretation of the Scriptures.
Now he questions the genuineness of their religious practice.
!! “Beware of the scribes”
Who were the scribes?
The title comes from the fact that in ancient Israel the ability to read and write was not widespread, so professional secretaries played a major role in public life.
While scribes were employed in various professions, the term eventually began to be used more narrowly to refer to those who gathered, studied, and interpreted the Scriptures.
But in Jesus’ day they were not mere copyists, as the word /scribe/ might suggest.
They were “the teachers of the law” (NIV) or “the experts in the law” (NET).
In other words, they were the Bible scholars, the religious professionals and authorities.
One would think that we could look to the scribes for an example of authentic faith.
But Jesus says we should “beware” of them.
The scribes are not just wrong in their interpretation of Scripture; they are dangerous because of it.
!! The dangerous example of the scribes
Rather than being an example of godliness, Jesus says that they “like to walk around in long robes.”
These were full-length prayers shawls made of wool or linen that set them apart as men of authority.
The scribes, Jesus said, love the attention they get for wearing these “uniforms” because they also “like greetings in the marketplaces.”
We are told that when a scribe passed through the market, people would rise and recognize their presence.
The scribes also like to “have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts.”
Who wouldn’t be gratified by the kind of public attention and respect that was afforded to the scribes?
Things are no different today.
What’s so dangerous about this kind of self-seeking behavior?
I think verse 40 answers that question.
Not only do the scribes seek the respect of their fellow man, but they also “devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.”
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