How can Jesus be David's Lord yet at the same time David's son, younger in age yet superior in rank (Moule 1965:99)? Jewish teachers often asked didactic questions that functioned as "haggadic antinomy," in which both sides of a question were correct but their relationship needed to be resolved (Jeremias 1971:259). The Messiah, the "anointed" king, was by definition son of David in various circles of Jewish expectation, but the title Lord describes him far more adequately.
If David spoke to a Lord besides Yahweh, a Lord who would be enthroned at God's right hand as his vice regent, then the eternal King was someone greater than David, more than merely a descendant of David-perhaps to be understood on the Near Eastern analogy of divine kings. Yet Lord was sufficiently ambiguous (in contrast to, say, Is 9:6) to make the point without yet giving the temple authorities words with which to condemn Jesus from his own mouth. Early Christians often followed Jesus' use of Psalm 110 (as in Acts 2:34-35; Eph 1:20; Heb 1:13; Justin 1 Apol. 45).
Mark announced that "they dared ask him no further questions" earlier in the narrative (Mk 12:34, my translation), but Matthew reserves this "punch" for the end of Jesus' public controversies. He had silenced and shamed his adversaries. The capacity of a wise speaker's wisdom to overwhelm hearers was a common motif in narratives meant to glorify their protagonists (for example, 1 Esdras 4:41-42; compare Ep. Arist. 186, 200). Matthew's audience could see in Jesus their hero who could answer all the objections raised by their opponents. Jesus must remain both our Lord and our hero today as well.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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