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Whose Son is the Christ?

Sermon passage: (Luke 20:41-44) Spoken on: February 21, 2021
More sermons from this speaker 更多该讲员的讲道: Dr. Tan Hock Seng
For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Luke

Tags: LUKE 路加福音

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About Dr. Tan Hock Seng: Dr. Tan teaches New Testament studies, theology and languages in various seminaries in Singapore.
Bible passage (ESV) of the sermon can be found at the bottom of the page.

Title: Whose Son is the Christ?
Date: 21 February 2021
Preacher: Dr Tan Hock Seng

This text is one of the very important passages in the Gospel that teaches “Jesus is more than the Messiah”. He is also Divine. In this text Jesus indirectly discloses His divine nature.

However, at that time nobody around Jesus grasped His disclosure about His Divinity. All they heard was a puzzling question.

In today’s sermon-text, many English Bible readers are confused by the references of “The LORD” and “my Lord in verse 42.It is like hearing someone saying , “His majesty said to my majesty … .”

The hearers around Jesus would also experienced the same confusion unless they knew the Psalm that Jesus quoted. Jesus was citing Psalm 110: 1, which says,
YHWH [The LORD] said to my Adonay ]Lord]…”

Whenever a Hebrew Scripture reader comes across the name “YHWH,” they will read “Adonay” [which means, Lord]. So, the listeners will hear two “Adonays”.

Hebrew Scripture readers will understand that in Psalm 110:1, Yahweh was speaking to David’s Messiah [his Lord]

Jesus posed an important issue to the Pharisees.

Who is greater? David, or the Son of David [the messiah]?

“Son of David” originally means a “Descendant of David”, By Jesus’ time, the term becomes a Messianic title. The other messianic titles we often come across are: “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” When we read about the blind man calling Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me” [Luke 18:37], he was acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah.

The issue in today’s sermon text – If the “Son of David” is greater than David, then this Messiah is more than just David’s flesh and blood. He is more than human.
The Messiah is greater than David in two ways:
A. He is David’s Lord No father in the Ancient Near Eastern world would address his son, or his descendants as “my Lord”.

B. He will be seated at God’s right Hand, with the authority to judge. After His Ascension, Jesus is now seated at God’s Right Hand. This is a position of kingship.
The Messiah will judge God’s enemies. This judgment will occur at His second Coming.

Originally, the people would think of the Davidic Messiah judging Israel’s enemies. But the NT Epistles teach us that the Messiah will judge the whole world to vindicate Justice. He will the people, from before the Flood and after the Flood, who hated God, rejected and opposed Him, but remained unrepentant.

If the Messiah is greater than David, then Whose Son is the Messiah, that is, the Christ? “Christ” is the Greek term for “Messiah”.

Q: Why did Jesus pose the Messiah’s Sonship questions. These mind-boggling questions hint at Christ’s divine nature.


A.During His earthly ministry Jesus Exercised Authority in Many Realms. Jesus exercised authority in Teaching; Exorcism; Forgiving Sins; Distant-Healing; and Granting Authority to Disciples. Of the five areas I will only elaborate Jesus’ teaching with authority.

1. Jesus taught with authority [Luke 4:31-32]
Luke 4:31-32 shows us that the hearers were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because His message had authority

31 Then he went down to Capernaum ... 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

The Matthew Gospel , shows some clear examples of Jesus’ teaching with authority.

We see Jesus exercising authority in …

The Six Counter-Legalism Teachings concerning [Matthew 5:21-48]. Those teachings cover the issues of:

Murder [vv.21-26]; Adultery [vv.27-32]; Divorce [vv. 31-32]; Oath-Taking [vv.33-37]; Seeking Vengeance [vv. 38-42]; Loving enemies [vv. 43-47].
For each subject-matter, Jesus will tell the hearers, “You have heard that it was said …” “But I tell you …”

In Chapter 4 we read that …
2. Jesus cast out demons with authority [Lk 4:36]

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “ … With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”

In Chapter 5 …
3. Jesus exercised the authority to forgive sin [Lk 5:24]

24 “… that you may know that the Son of Man has authority … to forgive sins....” He said to the paralyzed man, “ … take your mat and go home.”

In Chapter 7 a centurion believed that …
4. Jesus had authority to heal sickness over a distance [Luke 7:6-7]

[Centurion], “Lord, … I do not deserve to have you come under my roof … Say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

Jesus bestowed the Twelve authority to exorcise and to heal.

5. Jesus can bestow authority to the twelve When Jesus had called the Twelve … he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases [Luke 9:1]

B. The Religious Leaders Wanted To Know Where Jesus Derived His Authority From.

Luke 20:2 “… the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders questioned Jesus “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," "Who gave you this authority?”

This course of events is one of the reasons Jesus posed the questions about the Messiah’s Sonship. [The next event will provide another reason for Jesus’ Sonship questions].

A. Jesus Indirectly Disclosed His Divinity [Luke 20:27-40].

A few verses above the sermon-text, the Sadducees confronted Jesus about the Resurrection.

1. The Sadducees’ hypothetical question – Life in the Resurrection [Luke 20:27-40].

A woman who married seven brothers – one marriage at a time after the death of the previous husband. In the Resurrection whose wife would she be?

The Sadducees didn’t believe in Resurrection. The question about relationship in heaven is hypothetical. Probably, they asked the question to ridicule Jesus.

2. Jesus gave an astounding answer. In His reply Jesus’ corrected the Sadducees’ wrong theology [vv.34-36]:

[a] There is a resurrection
[b] There is no continuity of marital relationship in heaven.

To the Sadducees, the Resurrection is a false hope. To Jesus, the Resurrection is a Truth, which will be a reality.

The disciples were with Jesus at the time, and they needed to know …
B. Whose Theology is Correct?

1. (That will depend on) Who knows Heaven better: The Sadducees, or Jesus?

The Sadducees were professors of Theology; Jesus only had some years of home-schooling in Nazareth. Since nobody had ever had the “life-after-death” experience before, who is right?

2. Jesus’ defense will be His Divine Origin.
Jesus asked the questions to disclose His Divine nature indirectly. He wanted His disciples to connect the dots. His Divinity is the source of His authority and knowledge of the Resurrection.

C. No One Realized Jesus’ Divinity Before His Resurrection.

1. Peter only knew Jesus as the Messiah but not His divinity.
In Luke 9:20 When Jesus asked Peter …
Jesus: Who do you say I am?
Peter: The Messiah of God.

2. The Apostles understood Jesus’ self-disclosure after He had risen [Resurrection]. By the time Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Apostles had grasped that the Jesus was God.

At His Ascension [Luke 24:50-52] “When he had led them out to … Bethany, he lifted up his hands… While he was blessing them, He … was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped Him …”
Jews will not worship any human, or superhuman, or even a messiah, but The disciples worshipped Jesus.

On the day of the Pentecost …
3. The Apostles proclaimed Jesus as God
In Acts 2:34–35 Peter cited Ps. 110:1 to proclaim that God had exalted Jesus Christ to His Right Hand; and that Jesus is LORD and Christ.

Most Jewish believers accepted Jesus as God after His Ascension
A. The miracles that Jesus do not necessary prove that Jesus is God. The Chinese people might think “Jesus is 神仙下凡 Shen Xian Xia Fan” [a demi-god who descended into the mortal], but Jews do not think that way. Despites the miracles that Jesus perform, the Jews would perceive Jesus as:

A Prophet.
A great prophet like Moses can performed miracles; or

An Angel.
Angels have supernatural power.

Thus, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews shows:
1.Jesus is NOT an angel Jesus is greater than the angel
Hebrews 1: 13 To which of the angels did God ever say, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?

The Hebrews 3:5-6 passage teaches us that
2. Jesus is MORE THAN a great prophet. Yes, Jesus was a prophet. He has three offices: Prophet, High Priest, and King. The “Prophet” is just one of Jesus’ three offices. As a Prophet, Jesus is greater than Moses the Prophet-par-excellence.

5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house … 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house …

3. Jesus is the Son
Jesus is NOT an angel.
Jesus is MORE than a prophet.
Jesus is the Son.

Hebrews 1:1-3 amplified Jesus’ Divine Sonship.
Hebrews 1:2-3
[God] has spoken to us by his Son ... through whom He made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After He had provided purification … He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

In the John Gospel we see many Messianic terms “The Messiah” (2 passages); “Son of Man” (7 passages); “Son of God” (5 passages); and “the Son” (6 passages).

“The Son of God” and “the Son” are two terms that have confused many readers when reading the John Gospel.

“Son of God” and the “Son” depict different meanings [nuance].

“Son of God” is ambiguous. There are least three possible meanings: [1] The messianic king [human];
[2] Someone who is closely related to God; or [3] A being who is God. The people in Jesus’ times restricted “Son of God” to the first two meanings. To see Jesus as God was unthinkable.

However, the other term, “the Son” spotlights Jesus’ Divinity intensively.

“The Son” refers to the Divine Son whom God sent to reveal Himself to His people. “The Son” is devoid of any biological relation connotation.

John Gospel intentionally employs
the term “the Son” to emphasize Jesus’ Divinity.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only [Son], who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son …

John 14:3 And I will do whatever you ask in my Name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

As the term “Son of God” is ambiguous, Hebrews writer used the term “the Son,” exclusively to amplify the Divinity of Jesus in chapters 1-3.

The Son is Creator [He made the world]; Sustainer [Sustains all things]; Savior [Made purification for our sins]; and King [Sat down at the Right Hand of the God Almighty (His majesty on High)]

B. The Early Church’s Confession: Jesus is LORD

Q: What does “Jesus is LORD” means?

1. To the Jewish Believers:
The Shema confession [Deuteronomy 6:4]
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Jews recite the Shema every day, in the morning and in the evening. The Shema permits the Israelites to give allegiance only to YHWH, as their God and Lord.

For the Jews to simply accept ‘Jesus as God’ is to add another god to their faith. It tantamount to breaking the first Commandment “You shall have no other gods before me”. So, the Apostles had to assure the Jewish people that embracing Jesus as God is not idolatry. They can worship Jesus as God because Jesus is the same God their forefathers worship –YHWH, the I AM.

It has been long assumed by many Bible readers [including myself] that YHWH refers to God the Father. Whenever I read the word “LORD” in the OT, I thought only of the Father. The concept of the Triune God associating with YHWH was blocked. The Israelites actually worshipped a Triune God, which they were not aware of. Thus, YHWH is the Triune God. That means
the Name YHWH applies to the all the three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In Joel 2:32, we read, “And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [Yahweh] will be saved;

Peter preached,“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus] will be saved.”

The Apostle Paul also urged the Gospel-hearers to call on the name of the Lord (Jesus) in Romans 10:13

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Jesus]
will be saved.”

In so doing, both Peter and Paul equate Jesus [Lord] with YHWH [the LORD].

3. To the Gentile Believers:
Since the Gentiles were not constrained by the Shema, the Apostles directly proclaimed to them “Jesus as Lord,” that is the Jesus is God and King.

Romans 10:9 [Display Only; Do Not Read] That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart … you will be saved.

When the Roman Empire coerced [Slide #30.1] Christians to worship Caesar as God. The Christians resisted with the Creed – Jesus is Lord. To them – Jesus is their God and King.

In summary, the Confession “Jesus is Lord”, to the Jewish Christians means Jesus is Yahweh [the sense of Kingship is inherent]; to the Gentile Christians, it declares that Jesus is their God and King. The NT Churches referred to the Triune God as the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, instead of YHWH.

Application: Acknowledging Jesus’ Lordship

A. How do we treat Jesus’ Lordship in the Church?
“Lordship of Christ” basically means acknowledging Jesus as both God and King.

Illustration: Something happened between Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II. Oliver Cromwell transferred the real power of the British Empire from the throne to the Parliament. After Cromwell's act, all the kings and queens of Britain were mere symbols of a bygone era. The British sovereigns no longer rule the country; they became symbolic rulers instead of being functional ones.

Similarly, many Christians today have relegated the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ to a symbolic level.

I need to ask myself “Do I see Jesus as the sovereign “Lion of Judah?”, or do I treat Jesus like a docile “pussy cat”

During the worship service, I may lsing loudly "King of kings and Lord of lords, Glory! Hallelujah!" but Jesus may be just a "symbolic" Lord of my life, not a True Lord...

I ought to return to the LORD, the reverence due His Name.

B. Jesus’ Lordship in Christian Living
1.The need to be conscious of Jesus as God and King.
The application of Jesus’ Lordship begins with God-conscious in our living. The opposite of “God-consciousness” is Godlessness”. Godlessness is not the same as “Atheism”. Atheism deny God’s existence. Godlessness is not fearing, or revering the God who exists.

We can be a Christian and yet be godless.
In a godless mindset we often tell ourselves, “God is not fully aware; God doesn’t care. So, I will do whatever I want.”

With God-consciousness, we are aware that God is present; God is watching; and we remind ourselves “I won’t want to do things that grieve God.” A healthy fear of the Lord is to care about how God feels. If I love a person, I would not want to hurt or grieve that person. The Psalmist says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Having a healthy fear of God can prevent me from doing or saying foolish things that may lead me to sins.

2. Biblical examples of Applying Jesus’ Lordship meaningfully.
In Ephesians 5:22-6:9 we find three sets of exhortations for the Wife-Husband; the Children-Father; and the Slaves-Master relationships. These instructions are known as the Household Code for the Ephesian believers.

A Greco-Roman household is not a family unit. It comprises many family units. The average household size constitutes hundreds of people. The high officials’ households might have thousands of people.

In every Household, there is only one pater familia [the Patriarch]. The patriarch has absolute legal power [over life & death]. Even the married sons are subject to
their father’s authority, until the patricarch dies. Then they will leave the current household to form their own. Thereafter, the sons will become the pater familia of their household.

In the Ephesians 5:22-6:9, the pater familia, is the same person addressed in the three pairs of relationship:

the husband and wife; the father and children, and the master and slaves.

Paul took the existing Greco-Roman Household Code and “Christianized” it by bringing the Lordship of Jesus into the household relationships.

There’re two ‘Lord-focused’ principles:
[1]Treat others as the Lord would treat them.”
[2]“Do everything as to the Lord”; Let us observe how the Lordship of Jesus re-shaped the secular Household Code.

Ephesians 5:22; 25
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church …

Ephesians 6:1-4 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, … 4 Fathers, … bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:5-7; 9 Slaves, 7 Serve wholeheartedly, … as if you were serving the Lord, not men.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. … He who is both their Lord and yours is in heaven …

Prior the Christian Household Code section, Paul gave generic exhortations to all believers to live out the restored image of God in them. The Christians within the Household need to consciously put off their “old self” while God worked within them.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Following that ethical instructions, Paul then introduced ‘Lord Jesus’-focus principles to the each of the three pairs of precepts “If Jesus were removed from the precepts, the Ephesian Household code will collapse. It will no longer be “Christian” anymore.

Today, we should think carefully this question, “What does it mean for Jesus to be LORD [King] in every realm of my life?”: Family; Work; Schools; Church; and Community.

I believe that every vocation, that is, every ethical work, is a Calling. Our work becomes sacred when we do it “as to the Lord”. We can become blessings to many through our work.

Jesus indirectly discloses His Divinity.

He is the Davidic Messiah, but more than human.

Jesus is God; He is the Lord [King of kings].

If Jesus is LORD, He should be treated as a True King, not a symbolic Lord in our lives.

Luke 20:41–44 (Listen)

41 But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

  “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
43     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”