Mark 12:35-37Over the past few days, we have seen in the Gospel of Mark how various religious leaders asked Jesus questions. Some of these were meant to trip him up. Others, like the one about which is the most important commandment, were honest questions.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, 'How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, 'The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.'' David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?' And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
Now Jesus poses some good questions of his own. The first is: "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David?" Then Jesus quotes Psalm 110, the most oft-quoted passage of Scripture from the Old Testament found in the New. "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet." Then Jesus poses his second question: "David himself calls him [the Messiah] Lord; so how can he be his son?"
These are two excellent questions, arising out of a careful reading of Psalm 110, and joined together. I think for one thing Jesus teaches us that if we are going to lead others to God, we must become good question askers. And notice too that Jesus does not immediately supply the answer. He just leaves the questions hanging in the air for his hearers to wrestle with.
Of course, as Christians, we now know that these questions were answered in the very person of Jesus. He was the fully human descendant of King David and thus David's "son". But Jesus was also fully God, and as such he was David's Lord. Our minds cannot fully grasp how someone, anyone, could be fully human and fully divine in one person. But that is one good reason for accepting it as the truth. Who could have come up with such an idea, or made it up? I believe only God can do that sort of thing, the God who is beyond all human reckoning. In and through Jesus we can enter into the God who is beyond all our thoughts and all our imaginings and who therefore gives us an adequate grounding for our own being.