As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, “How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’” Mark 12:35–36
At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews understood that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Furthermore, many thought that the Messiah would simply be a nationalistic leader who would lead the Jewish nation out of the oppression of the Romans. Thus, they reduced the Messiah to a descendent of David who would set them free in a more political way.
In the passage above, Jesus gives clarity to this common understanding of the Messiah as the “son of David.” The Messiah would not only descend in human form from David’s ancestral line, He was also David’s “Lord.” Jesus shows this by pointing to Psalm 110 in which David refers to the Messiah as his Lord. And though this subtle distinction may not at first seem to be that important to us today, Jesus clearly makes an intentional effort to teach this.
One key lesson we should take from this passage is that we must work diligently to have a correct image of Jesus. Though today we may not see our Lord as a nationalistic leader who came to set us free from political oppression, we can often form other erroneous images of Him. For the Jews at that time, the idea that the Messiah was also the “Lord” of King David was new. This points to the divinity of the Messiah and His eternal nature. Jesus gives this subtle clarification and “The great crowd heard this with delight.” We also must work to delight in a clear and correct understanding of Who Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of Man truly is. So Who is He?
To answer this question, first consider how you see Jesus in your life. Jesus is your friend, a wise teacher, an inspiring personality, a kind soul, a merciful leader and a model for us all. But He is also so much more. To pick only one image of Who Jesus is and to then give that one image excessive focus in our lives is an error similar to the error that many of the Jews had at the time Jesus taught them.
The “so much more” is the part we must focus on as we consider the identity of our Lord. We must see Him as God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. As God, He is to be worshipped and adored. And though He was God from all eternity, He also took on human flesh, uniting humanity with divinity. And as a human, He permitted Himself to die so that He could rise in His human nature. This way, if we unite ourselves to Him through a total surrender of our lives, then we will also die in our sin but then rise with Him to new life. In so doing, we are given the gift of eternal salvation and are enabled to share in the eternal life of the Most Holy Trinity. Though much more could and should be said about the identity of our Lord, this slight glimpse into His life should help us to avoid the trap of limiting Who He is in our minds and hearts.
Reflect, today, upon the image you have of Jesus. Look for ways that you may unintentionally limit His greatness and glory in your mind and heart. Try to expand that image of our Lord that you have and be open to all that He desires to reveal to You about Himself. The more you do so, the more you, too, will be filled with “delight” as the Person of our Lord is more clearly revealed to you.
My infinite and glorious Lord, You are so far beyond our understanding and comprehension, yet You invite us to come to You so that we may know You more fully. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to shed the erroneous and limited images of You that I have, so as to come to know You as You are. Jesus, I trust in You.