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Luke 20:40-21:4
Key Verse: 20:44

Thank God that he is the God of the living, not of the dead. He is the living God. As his children may we live by faith in in the living God so that our life be a testimony that God is living. In the previous sequential passages the Pharisees and the Sadducees brought him very tricky and complicated questions so as to destroy him. But Jesus exposed their ignorance and disclosed the wonderful truth of God. They were defeated into silence by Jesus. At the end of the previous passage Luke wrote, “No one dared to ask him any more questions” (20:40). Then in today’s passage Jesus asks them a question concerning Christ. Through the question he reveals who Christ really is. During the last several days of his life on earth Jesus was full of shepherd heart, even for his adversaries and did his best to help them to open their eyes to see him, the Christ whom God sent.

First, Christ is David’s Son. Look at verse 41. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David?’” Christ is the promised Messiah, the one whom God promised to send from the very beginning of man’s fall and finally sent into this world for the salvation of mankind. He is the Son of God. But in his wisdom God planned to send his Son as a human so that human beings might be familiar with him and believe in him. For this he called one man Abraham with the promise of making him a blessing for all peoples on earth. Finally he formed a nation his chosen nation called Israel. The nation reached the peak at the time of King David as the kingdom of David, the most powerful and glorious kingdom at that time. And the people were all happy under the shepherd-like king. In such a time of national prosperity, God’s message came to David through the prophet Nathan, “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you…I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Sam 7:13,16). Definitely this word of God’s promise given to David is about the coming Messiah and his everlasting kingdom. The Abrahamic promise, given around 2000 BC, progressed into Davidic promise at the time of about 1000 BC. Since then the Israelites believed that the Messiah would come as a descendant of David. So the New Testament begins with this description, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt 1:1). And his human father Joseph is introduced as son of David (Mt 1:20) or a descendant of David (Lk 1:27). Although Joseph and Mary the couple were living in town of Nazareth in Galilee, in God’s providence, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the town of David (Lk 2:4) as a confirmation that he was from the house and line of David (Lk 2:4-6). At the time of Jesus’ birth an angel of the Lord proclaimed a message, “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you…” (Lk 2:11). On his way to Jerusalem when a blind beggar in Jericho heard that Jesus was passing by, he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mt 20:31; Mk 10:47; Lk 18:38). And as Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Mt 21:19).

Jesus, the Son of David, is the good shepherd. The messianic ministry written in the gospel accounts is really beautiful because of the good shepherd. He dwelt among men and served all kinds of people. First of all, he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God. He diligently taught in the synagogues and houses and by the lake. In his final week he taught at the temple every day. He also healed the sick with various kinds of sicknesses, one by one, out of his compassion, and he drove out demons from people. His purpose of coming was well stated when he found Zacchaeus sitting on a sycamore-fig tree: he said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10). In order to indeed save sinners, he had to die on the cross. While he was hanging on the cross, people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One” (Lk 23:35). He could have saved himself. But he did not save himself to save all sinners. He finally died on the cross as a ransom sacrifice to be our Saviour. Jesus who came as Son of David is our good shepherd and our Saviour.

We need the grace of Jesus our good shepherd and Saviour at each time. We are also to learn and follow our good shepherd Jesus. However, this Jesus who came as a human, Son of David, was rejected and despised and finally crucified on the cross outside the city of Jerusalem. As we studied in the parable of tenants, he was thrown out of the vineyard and killed. It was because to their eyes, Jesus was too humble with no majesty in his appearance. At the same time Jesus was a challenge to the establishment of the religious leaders of that time. And seriously, Jesus was not fit to their concept of the Messiah—a Messiah, who, as the Son of David would establish Israel above all nations, destroying Rome as David had conquered all the neighbouring countries. In short all these were mainly because they did not really who Jesus is. So Jesus helps them to think of who he truly is.

Second, Christ is David’s Lord. Look at verses 42-44. “David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” In verse 41 Jesus said, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David?” Jesus’ talking topic is “Christ.” Jesus ascribes this Psalm (110) to David, and is saying that it is a Messianic Psalm. In this Psalm David mentions “The Lord” and “my Lord.” The Lord is YHWH and ‘my Lord,’ ‘Adonai.’ David is making a distinction between the two. YHWH is addressing David’s Adonai; that is, God is addressing his Son, who would be the Christ, the Mediator. Surprisingly David knew the Son of God and called him ‘my Lord.’ This Psalm is about the victory of David’s Lord, the coming Christ.

But the question arose, “How did the scribes understand the Psalm? They needed to clarify their misunderstanding of Messiahship. As we thought of in the first part, when they used the title “Son of David” (18:38-39; Matt 21:9), they clearly envisaged the Messiah as someone who would defeat all Israel’s foes and bring in a new kingdom of David. They thought of David’s Son as similar to David in being, outlook and achievement. They tried to make the Christ, the Son of David, fit to their idea of a narrow nationalism that looked for Israel’s triumph over all its foes. Jesus wanted them to know that the Messiah was not David’s son in that petty sense. To call him Lord meaningfully is to see him as far greater than merely another David.

Then how the Christ David’s Lord became the Lord of all people is clearly shown in New Testament. It is through his death and resurrection. Apostle Peter quoted this Psalm when he testified to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He said in Acts 2:32, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God…” And then he quoted this Psalm and concluded his message saying, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (2:34-36). Apostle Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 15:25, as he stressed the power of the resurrection, “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” Also the author of Hebrews said in 10:13, “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.” He is the Lord, the Lord of people’s hearts and lives through his death and resurrection, not through crushing and subduing power like the military conquest.

Based on this Messianic Psalm Jesus wanted them to understand correctly that he is the Christ as David’s Son and also David’s Lord. Human logic fails to understand this. But with spiritual understanding this is marvelous work of God. Jesus is both David’s Son and David’s Lord. Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:3-4, “regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” And as we studied in Isaiah 11, verse 1 says, “A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse”, and then verse 10 says, “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner.” Then we read in Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Jesus is the root as well as the offspring of David.

“Jesus Christ is the Lord” is a very significant message in the Bible, particularly in Luke’s gospel. In this gospel, Lordship is ascribed both to God and Jesus. When the angel Gabriel delivered God’s message to Mary concerning a son she would have, the angel said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David…” (1:32). And Mary finally responded, “I am the Lord’s servant” (1:38). In 5:17, before healing a paralytic in a house it is written “the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” In these cases Lord is God. Now we can think of several cases in which Jesus is called Lord. At the time of Jesus’ birth, an angel of the Lord said, “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (2:11). In Luke 6:5, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.” When Jesus was going to raise a dead young man, the only son of a widow, from the coffin, Luke wrote in 7:13, “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” When Jesus sent two of his disciples to bring someone’s a colt, Jesus said to them in 19:31, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” While Jesus was arrested and taken into the house of the high priest, Peter denied Jesus three times. In that situation it is written in Luke 22:61, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him…” After Jesus’ resurrection the Eleven said in Luke 24:34, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Jesus Christ is the Lord.

“Who is the Lord?” has been a timeless question throughout history. In the early Christian era the world insisted, “Caesar is the Lord.” However the Christians never compromised with their belief that Jesus is the Lord, even as this put their lives in jeopardy. In our times, people in authority, in the name of science, religion, intellectualism and pleasure-seeking life style, try to get rid of Jesus as the Lord, leaving just a skeleton of his tolerance and kindness. Still, Jesus is the Lord. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The whole world is in his hand. We know that in history people have come and gone regardless of their human greatness and power. Now, so-called world leaders seem to be great. But they all will disappear from the stage of history in a matter of time. Moreover, each of them should stand before the judgement seat of Christ the Lord.

There are many believers who accept Jesus as their Saviour but not as their Lord. They believe according to their desires and ideas for the success in the world. When they keep on such a life, eventually they will lose their salvation. But in the light of Jesus’ questions we are to deeply accept Christ Jesus as our Lord as well as our Saviour and good shepherd. Also, we should firmly believe that he is the Lord of all people and the whole world is in his hand. As for young people it is important to sign up for good groups and excellent companies. Yet, what truly matters is whether they know who the Lord is. Mostly importantly we should sign up in our hearts for the Lord. That is to commit our lives to him, entrusting our future, marriage, and all things in life to him and live by faith in the Lord, our Lord and the Lord of all. Then the Lord will lead us in his best way for his great purpose. Apostle Peter encouraged the early suffering Christians in 1 Peter 3:15, “…in your hearts set apart Christ as the Lord….” And Apostle Paul said in Romans 14:8, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” May it be our confession of faith.

Third, the life of the scribes and of a poor widow. Look at verses 45-47. “While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.’” The teachers of the law seemed to know that the Christ is David’s, not did not know at all that the Christ is David’s Lord. We see their practical lives. They were sensitive to people’s recognition and slaves to it. They lived before people. To them their religious establishment was their Lord for their gain and glory in this world. In such a life there can be no true freedom and satisfaction. They were different from David, who was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Ac 13:22). Jesus told his disciples to beware of them.

On the contrary, now Luke introduces a quite different person. Look at 21:1-4. “As he looked up, Jesus saw rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” She is truly the one in whose heart Christ is set apart as the Lord. A poor widow is almost proverbial for the poorest of people. She could have given one of the two very small copper coins, and no one would know the difference. Yet, she gave all before the Lord, and surely by faith. We believe that when she gave all to Jesus, she was truly beautiful and rich in heart. The Lord Jesus did not fail to see her whole-heartedness in her offering and praised her. She was like David, who served God’s purpose in his generation wholeheartedly. Sometimes we think, “I do not have much material or ability.” But what matters is to give the whole or half heart, or to give all or part.

In Luke’s gospel we see several beautiful women: Elizabeth, who after conceiving John the Baptist confessed, “The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people” (1:25); Mary, who gave up her own plan of marriage to receive God’s favour and said, “I am the Lord’s servant” (1:38); Anna who became a widow after 7 years of marriage but served God praying in the temple day and night and looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (2:37), a nameless woman, who poured out her perfume on Jesus’ feet because of his grace of forgiveness of her sins (7:38), another Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet listen him amid many works to do (10:39); and this nameless widow, who gave all to the Lord out of her poverty. All these women were the ones who set apart Christ as Lord in their hearts.

Thank God for sending his Son Jesus as a descendant of David to be our good shepherd and Saviour. Thank him that he is not only David’s Son but also David’s Lord, that is, our Saviour and our Lord, through his death and resurrection. Christ Jesus is the Lord, the Lord of All. May we live in the world with unshaken faith in this Lord, giving our heart devotion to him.

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