Saturday, December 5, 2020

Whose Son? - Mark 12:35-37 - December 6, 2020

These are the Sermon Notes for December 6, 2020. We are meeting at the church with limited seating and specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Covid-19 plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

 Mark 12:35-37 Whose Son?

Good morning! 

I hope you all have been enjoying the Advent devotional we have been reading together this year, The Christmas We Didn’t Expect. 

I particularly enjoyed Day two when the author reminded us that Christmas is not just a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, as if He didn’t exist before His conception, but a celebration of His incarnation, that he existed eternally before that night that the Holy Spirit visited Mary, and before that day He was born in a stable and laid in a manger.

It’s that same idea that our text is centered around this morning, and it’s no accident either.

Let’s look at Mark 12:35-37, page 849 in the pew Bibles.

You’ll remember that Jesus has been fielding questions from the Scribes and Pharisees, from the Herodians and the Sadducees, all the leading men of Israel. 

Their questions had seemed to them to be quite clever, and even unanswerable, but Jesus had stumped them all with His answers.

Now it’s Jesus’ turn to ask a question…

35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 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.” ’ 

37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Let’s pray

Last week we talked a little about the purpose of the Law, how the Jews saw the Law as rules for living, how to please God and prove you were worthy of Him, but the reality is, that the Law exists to expose sin and the need of a Savior.

Jesus, in our text here, expands on that notion even more. He shows here that the whole Old Testament points to Him and our need for Him, to His person and work. It also shows some rich theology as to who He really is and what His nature is and what the nature of the Bible is.

I’d like to look at those ideas in reverse order.

First, quickly, the nature of the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 clearly say,

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All Scripture, the Old and the New Testaments were breathed out by God, they were inspired by God.

What does this mean? This doesn’t mean that the individual authors of the 66 books contained in the Bible were used like God’s typewriters. He didn’t just posses them and write it all out, neither did He simply dictate the words and they wrote them down like a stenographer.

God spoke through people, and as they wrote it was as if they were writing the very words of God. And it is these words that He has preserved and has been using to draw people to Himself through faith for millennia. 

Jesus recognized that the Scriptures were inspired by God when He said, 36 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.”’ 

The Scribes and the Pharisees also held that the Scriptures were inspired by God and that King David was speaking by the Holy Spirit when he wrote his psalms. What they didn’t recognize was that this particular Scripture was about Jesus.

The Scribes were looking for a human king, a mere human successor to David’s throne who brought nothing more than a human nature to a human kingdom.

Thanks be to God that this was not His design!

John Calvin wrote, “Had [Messiah] been only a man, we would have no right to glory in him, or to expect salvation from him.”

If Jesus was just a man, he would have failed as the kind of Messiah the Scribes and Pharisees were looking for, and billions of people would have fallen for the greatest hoax in the history of mankind.

But Jesus proved by His resurrection that He was not just a man but that He is God.

But he is also a man. The Scribes were right when they said that the Christ is the Son of David. The prophecies of the Old Testament told how Messiah was to be born from the house and line of David, how He was to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, of a virgin, that His coming forth was from of old, from ancient days.

So in Jesus’ riddle, is the Christ the Son of David, is He the Son of Man?

Yes. The Scribes were half right. 

Matthew chapter one outlines Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham to David, fourteen generations, from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to Mary and Joseph and Jesus, fourteen generations.

But what about Jesus’ question, how can David call Christ, who was supposed to be his Son, his Lord?

The simple answer is that He is both. But that simple answer is not so simple, because it’s not possible.

The word translated, “Lord,” in our text actually represents three different words, two in Hebrew and one in Greek.

In Psalm 110:1, which Jesus is quoting, the first, “Lord,” as written in the Old Testament is actually typed in all capitols in the English translations of the Bible. This is the Hebrew word, “Yahweh,” which means, “I am that I am,” the closest we have to the name of God the Father. Every time you see it written this way in the Old Testament it should read, “Yaweh.”

The second, “Lord,” in Psalm 110 is the Hebrew word, “adon,” maybe you’re familiar with, “adoni.” This is not a specific name but a word meaning, one possessing absolute control – master or ruler.

In our text in mark there is a third, “Lord,” which is the Greek word, “kyrios,” that is used every time the New Testament uses the word, “Lord,” no matter who the author is talking about, it simply means, “master.”

Why is any of that important? 

It’s important because in Psalm 110, that Jesus quotes, David is not talking about himself, he is writing about the Father and the Son, calling the Son, “Lord, Master, Ruler.”

You have to understand that a father, a king, can’t be subordinate to his son. It just didn’t work that way. 

In order for Christ to be David’s Son and David’s Lord meant that He had to be more than just a natural man. 

The long and the short of it is, that, in order for David to call Him Lord, He had to be God.

JP Lange wrote, “Christ as David’s Son, and at the same time David’s Lord, could not be a man simply, though He is a real man. For David calls Him, not in a general way, his lord; but Lord, the Lord, directly and most positively.”

“David himself calls Him Lord. So how is he his Son?”

This was a real puzzle for the Scribes.

Robert Jamieson wrote, “There is but one solution to this difficulty. Messiah is at once inferior to David as his Son according to the flesh, and superior to Him as the Lord of a kingdom of which David is himself a subject, not the sovereign. The human and divine natures of Christ, and the spirituality of His kingdom – of which the highest earthly sovereigns are honored if they be counted worthy to be its subjects – furnish the only key to this puzzle.”

Jesus was asserting that He is both Son of Man AND Son of God, He is fully God and fully man, and the Church, His kingdom, is safe through the protection of a heavenly and invincible King.

And why is this important?

As Philippians 2 says,

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And in the words of David Mathis from Day 2 of our Advent devotional, “Christmas is far more that the celebration of a great man’s birth. God Himself, in the second Person of the Godhead, entered into our space and into our frail humanity, surrounded by our sin, to rescue us. He came. He became one of us. God sent God. The Father gave His own Son for us and for our salvation.”


Father in heaven, may your Son assume His rightful place in our hearts this Advent. At this most material time of year in our materialistic society, your Son’s pre-existence reminds us of His preciousness over every party and present, over all the trees and trimmings. He is before, and better than, anything in this created world. Cause our hearts to swell in this season at the gift of the Person of Christ as our greatest treasure. In His precious Name we pray. Amen.