APRIL 3, 2016

MAIN TEXT: MARK 12:35-37

And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in 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 is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.


Today’s text appears in the midst of a series of controversies between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem. It is Jesus’ last week of His life. Jesus has been dealing with hostile questions from some Pharisees and Herodians, then Sadducees and scribes. They have questioned Him regarding:

While teaching in the temple, Jesus turns the tables and asks a question. It is a most important question that concerns the identity of the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. Mark’s purpose for writing His gospel is to show who Jesus is and what He did. Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 8:27, “But who do you say that I am?” Now Jesus takes this question public. This question will raise the tension because it raises the stakes. 

We gain massive insight to our faith through these few verses. 

The Christ is human

The heart of the question is a quotation of Psalm 110 in which King David refers to the Messiah as his “Lord”. Jesus is drawing their attention to what David said about his Son. Jesus points out the generally understood fact that the Messiah would come from the line of David – be a descendant of David. The Messiah’s sonship of David was a common and almost universally accepted belief throughout Israel during Jesus’ day. The Old Testament scriptures firmly established this: (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4; Isaiah 9:2-7; Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 30:9; Jeremiah 33; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11; Micah 5:2-5). 

This thought of the Christ coming from the line of David – the illustrious King of Israel – was comforting to the Jews. David’s reign was the golden age of Israel. David was a shepherd, a poet, a warrior, and a brilliant administrator. He expanded Israel’s boundaries, was the greatest military genius of Israel’s history, and had the finest public-works system of any king who ruled over Jewish people. 

The fact that Jesus was human is hardly arguable today – even many that would never claim Christianity acknowledge the man of Jesus Christ – a teacher, a prophet, a historical figure. Orthodox Christianity also says that Jesus’ was 100% man. 

The Christ is God

Jesus points out something that the religious scribes had not David said, “The Lord said to my Lord” (verse 36). In Psalm 110 – the Lord (Yahweh) is having a conversation with someone who is given the title (Adonai) or Lord. Adonai is the supreme title for Yahweh God. The two names usually refer to the same person – and yet in Psalm 110 we find Yahweh – Lord calling someone else Adonai – Lord. Clearly David is thinking of two different people. It seems that God is speaking to someone else who carries the title for God. 

As well, Jesus points out the oddity of David describing one of his descendants as greater than himself. In Jewish categories, the son was always subordinate to his father. The son was never greater than his father. Yet David calls his Son, “my Lord” – indicating that Jesus is not simply the Son of David, He is David’s Sovereign, David’s Adonai, David’s King, and the One whom before David must bow. The Messiah is both David’s Son and David’s Lord at the same time. Jesus is the greater David. 

So Jesus is saying to the scholars, “What do you think about this? What is the Holy Spirit saying? David’s words will not work if the Messiah is just a human being. He must be more. This is where Jesus is trying to take them. This is what they failed to see. The supreme title that was reserved for God in the Old Testament is now given to His Son – and every person will recognize Him as Lord someday (Philippians 2:5-11). 

Orthodox Christianity holds that Jesus was 100% God. Jesus was fully human/fully man as well as fully God. Jesus is indeed the God Man. 

Two truths

Our faith is based on truths from the scriptures. These truths build on one another – they are woven together – they are beautifully revealed to us throughout this grand story of love and redemption. In these short three verses we see some basic Christian theology. 

Scripture is divinely inspired

Jesus quotes Psalm 110 as a writing of David and says the Holy Spirit inspired the David. This is a wonderful description of what the Bible is. It is words written by men who were moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). It is a uniquely divine-human book. 

Those who were God’s instruments to give us divine revelation wrote not by their own wisdom but under the supervision and influence of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If the Holy Spirit declares it, it is more certain than life itself. 

Jesus is on the throne

God said to David’s Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” God the Father was saying to Jesus, “Be seated in the highest place of authority in the universe”. David wrote in the Holy Spirit that when the Messiah had finished His labor in the world, He would be exalted to heaven at the right hand of God. Congress may or may not be in session (act of sitting), but Jesus is always in session! We may live in a democracy, but as Christians we live in a kingdom that is actively ruled by the King of kings. His reign is ongoing. Jesus is King at this moment. He is on the throne now. He will return and put all things right. 

These facts tell you who Jesus is. Once you know, there is no sitting on the fence. A decision is always before us. If you have thought wrong things about Jesus – repent (change what you believe about Him) and find His grace, forgiveness, healing, and Spirit as you receive Him. Confess His lordship over your life. Declare your need for a Savior.





This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.


This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.


Read: Mark 12: 35-37

  • Why is the teaching method Jesus uses here - asking a question-often effective?
  • Explain the conundrum in Psalm 110:1 in your own words. What is the meaning of the first “lord” in small capital letters? Of the second “Lord”?
  • What part does the authorship and inspiration of the Psalms play in Jesus’ argument?
  • How would you resond to someone who says, “I believe Jesus was a great moral teacher, but that’s all?