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What do you think of the Christ?

Matthew 22:34-46

Pastor David Ernst

18th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Oct 11, 2020 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As you elders know and you young people are going to learn, there are many different opinions in this world. Regarding Jesus Christ and eternal life, the truth is one, but the errors are many. You must know the scriptures to distinguish the truth from the errors.

False doctrines are the basis of schisms among Christians. A sect is a group formed around a false interpretation of the Scriptures. There were sects among the Jews at that time of Jesus. The most powerful of the Jewish sects was that of the Pharisees. They supposedly strictly adhered to the literal meaning of the Law of Moses. But, to the authority of Scripture they added that of tradition, the rules and regulations of the elders. They completely ignored the evil condition of man and the evil desires of his heart, and took pride in an outward display of piety.

The staunch enemies of the Pharisees and their opponents in doctrine, but united with them in their hatred of Christ, were the Sadducees. They denied the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. They accepted the books of Moses only and rejected all the traditions.

The Sadducees had been silenced in the most effective way, so they had nothing more to say. Now the ancient rivalry between the two sects came into play. If the members of the one were able to conquer Jesus in an argument, it would be a feather in the cap of the whole group. So the Pharisees decided to find a point where they could triumph over the Lord. They got together and finally agreed on a certain question, the answer to which would surely compromise him.

In a very serious way, as if they were very sincere in their longing for the truth, their spokesman, one well versed in the Law, raised the question; What is the great commandment, the most important, on which everything depends? In this way the self-righteous justify themselves. Sometimes I bear false witness, but at least I'm not a thief. I rob empty houses, but I do not attack people in a violent way. Nobody has fulfilled God's law perfectly, but some people think to fulfill one or another commandment is enough.

In this case, if Jesus selected some precept of the Law and placed it above the others, he could be accused of giving the other commandments a correspondingly low position and denying their validity. But Christ avoids the pitfall by giving a summary of the entire Law, placing first the one on the first table and the one on the second immediately next to it. The love of God is the fulfillment of the Law. But all the heart, all the soul, all the mind must be His. Reason and intellect, feeling and passion, thought and will must be put at His service.

The attack of the Pharisees had failed; their own spokesman had been forced to admit the truth of Christ's answer. But now Christ turned the attack by posing a question that would impale His adversaries on the horns of a real dilemma.

“And the Pharisees gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What do you think of the Christ? Who's his father? They said to him: David. He said to them: How then did David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool. Well, if David calls him Lord, what is he his son? "

The quote is Psalm 110: 1. In the Old Testament it is stated so often that the Messiah was to be a descendant of David that, in fact, every Jew was used to calling him by that name, Son of David. According to the caption, Psalm 110 was written by King David. In this psalm we hear the voice of the king prophesying of the Messiah that I will come to redeem his people. No other psalm, no other prophecy, is quoted as frequently in the New Testament as this psalm. Examples, Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 1:13; 1 Peter 3:22.

Well, then, the word translated Lord the first time is God's name in the Old Testament, Jehovah. The second time, the word is adonai. Then, Jehovah God said to “my Lord”, sit at my right hand. In that culture, the king's right hand was the privileged position, the place of honor and authority. There is evidence that at the coronation of a new king, he was invited by the previous king to feel at his right hand. That is, the royal authority was handed over to the one sitting at the right hand. What did Jesus Christ say after his resurrection. "All power and authority has been given to me." And then he ascended to heaven, as we confess in the Creed, to be seated at the right hand of almighty God the Father and from there he has to come to judge the living and the dead.

The fact of the double nature in Christ was clearly taught here, as in other passages in the Old Testament. The Messiah, the Son of David, and at the same time the Lord of David, born as a true man and living His life with humility and humility, because it was necessary that He would be tested in every way like us, as a true man. As true God He overcame the power of the devil and death and was exalted to the office of God's government on earth. Jesus Christ is the head of the church now, and on the final day the kingdom of grace will become the kingdom of glory, and Christ will rule as king of glory for all eternity.

All this was prophesied in the Old Testament, only missing the name of the Messiah, the promised Savior of God. The problem of the Pharisees was not simply their hypocrisy, although they did not keep God's Law as they thought. Their problem was they did not recognize the Messiah in the person of Jesus Christ, because in truth they did not recognize their need for a Savior. Therefore, the most important question was not what is the great commandment ?, but what do you think of Christ?

This is the question for us too. We have more than the Pharisees, we have the name of the Savior, the only name given to men for salvation, and the testimony of His resurrection. However, without the Holy Spirit, we cannot recognize our sins, nor our Savior. King David recognized his Lord by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We too have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at our baptism. By this gift, we have the hope of eternal life and the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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