Matthew 22:41-46 – Mystery Solved: Jesus is God

Posted: March 9, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 22:41-46
Religious Leaders Cannot Answer Jesus’ Question

One of my favorite shows is Cold Case. In that show, they take old, unsolved murders from years past (sometimes just a few years ago, sometimes a decade ago, sometimes a half a century ago) and try to solve them again. Usually, a new piece of evidence not available at the time of original murder investigation is brought to light. Meticulously, the team of investigators goes through all the old evidence and interviews all the remaining living witnesses. It is a cool show in that it often takes back in time with music from the period playing in the background. The characters are always interesting and the cases are always interesting as well. The evidence and interviews lead them closer and closer to the real situation that led to the murder. Often the issues are controversial or were in the day and time of the murder. In the end, when the murderer is revealed and the backstories of all the individuals involved come to climax, it leaves you with tears in your eyes and there is always a song that is appropriate to the situation playing in the background. I just loved that show. When I was single between 2004 and 2010 when Elena and I got married, I used to be a night owl and one of the cable networks would have a Cold Case Marathon on Tuesday nights starting around 10pm. I would watch the first episode for sure and then say that I was going to bed. But, the beginnings of the episodes were always so intriguing, so I would get hooked and watched the next one. Then, it was midnight…but the next episode would come on. Ok, I will just watch the beginning and THEN go to bed. Well, next thing you know, it was 1am in the morning. Then, there was just one more of the weekly four-episode marathon. Well, I can do with four hours of sleep. I will just watch this one last episode. Of course, I would be dragging the entire next day but it was worth it to me. I would fall asleep by 10pm the next night but I had gotten my Tuesday night Cold Case marathon fix! Intriguing show about unsolved mysteries. Answering questions that had gone unanswered for years. The truth hidden for many years finally coming out. People being clueless as to what really happened until they were pressed for answers. New evidence helping everyone see who the real murderer was and what their real motivation was. Unanswered questions finding resolution or the real truth being revealed is what comes to my mind as we read today passage from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 22:41-46):

 

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

 

The Pharisees, Sadducees and supporters of Herod had been asking questions of Jesus to try to trip Him up and reveal that He was some kind of false prophet. They had been pressing Jesus with seemingly difficult questions to answer. Now, Jesus has turned the tables on them. Now, He is asking the difficult question – whom they thought the Messiah was. The Pharisees knew the Messiah would be a descendant of David, the great king, but they did not understand that He would be God Himself. Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 to show that the Messiah would be greater than David (Hebrews 1:13 uses Psalm 110:1 also as the proof of Jesus’ deity).

So, what all does this passage mean for you and me now in today’s world. How can I use this passage in my daily life? I think this passage is an important witnessing tool for us Christ followers who find themselves having to defend our faith, particularly the belief that we have that Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus says here that the Messiah is God in the flesh. David, under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, understood that the Messiah was not subject to him as would a human descendant. He knew that the Messiah was his Lord. David knew that Jesus was Lord before Jesus came to earth in the flesh.

Why is it important for us to know that Jesus is of one and the same essence as the Father and the Holy Spirit? Why is it important for us to know that Jesus is superior to David and is God in the flesh? It is important for us for several reasons.

First, our belief that Jesus is God in the flesh is important to our salvation. If Jesus was not God, He would be an imperfect human and His sacrifice on the cross would be insufficient and incomplete. Since someone who is fully human and not divine cannot be perfect, as we all know, and filled with the imperfections of sin, then, it follows that He cannot be permanently sacrificial. Imperfect beings cannot atone for imperfect beings. Only God could come to earth and live a completely sinless life because there is no sin in God. He is perfection. He is righteous and pure and nothing imperfect such as sin can exist in His presence. Therefore, we as imperfect beings ourselves cannot exist in the presence of God from the moment we commit our first sin not to mention the tons we commit in our lifetime. We are born with the propensity to sin so our committing of sins is unavoidable because of our predisposition to it. Therefore from that first sin we are excluded from being able to exist in the presence of God in eternity. We need an intervention. That intervention comes in the form of the completion of the formerly imperfect (and therefore needing repeat) sacrificial system of the Old Testament. There, imperfect animals were offered as sacrifice and humble atonement against the wrath of God against us but since the animals were imperfect it had to be repeated. It was all a prelude to the completion of the sacrificial system in Jesus. He was God in the flesh. He was perfect and sinless. He went to the cross as to the altar in the Temple and was offered up as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. At that time, the Father in Heaven poured our all of His wrath against all sins of all time, past, present, and future against Jesus, the part of the Trinity acting as the Son. All sin was atoned for that day because Jesus was God and He could take on the wrath of Himself. All sin was atoned for that day not just the sins that people committed between the annual Day of Atonement. No longer was this atonement temporary because of imperfect sacrifices. No longer was the solution just for individual sins committed over a certain time period. Jesus was the perfection of God and He was atoning for all sins of all time, including yours and mine. Jesus has to be God for our salvation to be permanent when we accept Him as our Savior for this reason – that He is God and that He died on the cross for our horrid, sin-filled lives that destine us for separation from God.

Second, Jesus being God makes Him more than just one of many prophets, which we will discuss tomorrow. But for today. Let us understand why Jesus being God is important to us as Christ followers. He has to God. Otherwise, His sacrifice would be “his sacrifice” and not “His sacrifice.” If Jesus was not God in the flesh, He would be just a guy dying on the cross in sacrificial love – which of course He did – but he would be just and imperfect guy not the basis of our salvation. He would not have been able to have lived a perfect life. He would not have been able to accept the whole wrath of God. He would be the once and final solution to our sin problem. He would not able to atone for our sins permanently. He would especially not be able to raise Himself from the dead. Jesus has to be God in the flesh. He even refers to Himself as God in Scripture. Otherwise, then, Jesus is just a lunatic, a liar and just a guy. Jesus is God. It is necessary that He be God. This is the basis of our faith. You cannot become a Christ follower until your accept this one immutable fact. Jesus is God.

Amen and Amen.

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