Who’s Your Daddy?

Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? 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?”

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 honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” (Luke 20:39-47)

People don’t like inconvenient questions. That didn’t stop Jesus from asking them. Jesus loved to ask questions that made the people around him uncomfortable. Why? Because the hard questions forced them look in places that they’d rather not look, to think about what they’d rather not think about, and to see what they thought they believed in wholly new ways.

So Jesus presented an uncomfortable bit of the book of Psalms that the religious establishment mostly tried to ignore. Jesus pointed out that David, the great king of Israel, referred to the Messiah as his Lord. If the Messiah was David’s son, how could he call him that, Jesus wanted to know? In normal royal father-son relationships, the son might call his father lord, but never, ever the other way around. What could the Psalmist be thinking? What was going on? Jesus wanted the teachers of the law to puzzle over the problem, to face its implications.

Jesus was attempting to tweak the leaders’ understanding of authority and relationships. They were all about being high and mighty. They wanted to be coddled and looked up to. Suddenly Jesus was casting their justification for that in doubt. Being the boss is not what mattered. Such attitudes were not how relationships worked in Heaven and it shouldn’t be how they worked on Earth, either.

If you want to be transformed, then when you face a hard or inconvenient question in the Bible, don’t shy away from it. Embrace it.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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