Why Is This Here?: Luke 20.41-44

But he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son?

“For David himself says, in the book of Psalms,

‘The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.

“David thus calls him ‘Lord,’ so how can he be his son?”

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6 responses

  1. More proof that Jesus is not the Messiah.

  2. More likely, I think: ~’The Messiah isn’t literally the son of anyone special.’

    David wasn’t. A true ‘son of David’ might well be one who was born a nobody and became prominent through what he said and did. That was certainly a common pattern among the popularly-anointed kings who come along frequently in the ensuing century.

  3. His previous answer shut down the Sadducees, but gained the approval of the “teachers of the law”. Now he moves to shut them down too, using their own style of argument to shoot down one of their beliefs.

    Actually, this is a great text, in that it should warn us that “proving” points by using proof texts is a dangerous way of doing theology. Scripture wasn’t given to be used in that way, but rather to be read and absorbed, forming in less direct ways the base of our understanding and world view. Not that study is wrong, nor discussions like this, merely that they must be informed by that holistic understanding.

    1. I don’t think that ‘shutting up his opposition’ was the main point, although his last post had that effect on the Sadducees. There, his point was really God’s transcendence of our assumed categories (‘Life’? ‘Death’? ‘All alive with God.’)

      The theme implicitly screaming throughout (quite a trick, there!) is that Messianic claim that ‘Liberal’ scholars have so persistently tried to distance him from: ‘Our Jesus is a nice, reasonable guy, not some meglomaniac kook!’ Not wanting to go to: ‘If you’re the Messiah, thinking you are is neither immodest nor crazy.’

      The style of argument is utterly rabbinic, as you say. He’s used it before, in other debates; it isn’t clear to me that he’s trying to reduce it to absurdity so much as poke a crowbar into basic assumptions.

      All the way back to 3:8 — “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”

      This is nice because it brings up something I missed with 20.17-19 — which I ran into yesterday in a study group: the reference there to Daniel’s vision as well. Which was not ‘Hebrew Scripture’, but accepted as ‘Scripture’.

      Okay, NT Wright in _Jesus and the Victory of God_: “An obvious example is Daniel 2.31-45, in which the great statue has a head of gold, a chest of silver, a belly of bronze, and feet of clay. This is interpreted, in that allegorical style so typical of apocalyptic visions, to refer, not (as one might have supposed) to different features of a contemporaneous kingdom, but to successive stages, different kingdoms, in ongoing world history. At the end of the succession there will come a stone, cut from a mountain, which will smash the statue on its feet and destroy it; the stone then becomes a mountain, filling the whole Earth. This represents the kingdom which shall never be destroyed, which the creator God will establish in those days.

      “…The vision in Daniel 2 concerns the kingdom of God and its triumph over the kingdoms of the world. The revelation of this vision is described as the unveiling of a ‘mystery’ which could not be made known any other way. The ‘stone’ which smashed the clay feet and which then became a huge mountain was fairly certainly read as messianic by some groups in the first century, not least, perhaps, because of the well-known play between ‘stone’ (‘eben’ in Hebrew) and ‘son’ (‘ben’); and the passage offers a natural link to Daniel 7, with its four kingdoms and its ‘son of man.'”

  4. The Talmid Rebbe | Reply

    In the same way that we all call Her “Lord,” but she refers to us as ‘b’nei Yisrael’ (Children of Israel).

    1. Yeah, it was taking me awhile to see what you’re saying, but it makes sense now.

      About time I went on with this — but there’s another element: What this ‘Lord’ is saying: “Sit at my right hand while I thump on your enemies for you.”

      Is this what Jesus is practicing? And is it what we should be doing?

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