Sundays in Mark (43) Whose son is the Messiah?

Continuing our simple Sunday reflections in the Gospel of Mark.

This week Mark 12:35-37 and another question – this time asked by Jesus himself.

Again and again as we have journeyed through this Gospel we have been assailed with reminders that the good news of the Gospel is all about Jesus. A simple but often overlooked point is that the gospel is the good news of Jesus the Messiah, who he is and how he has fulfilled and completed God’s promises to his people, Israel.

The question of whether Jesus is really the Messiah is constantly present. It is tied up with hope of the restored kingdom of God and a new era of liberation, blessing and a return of God’s presence to Israel.

Here, Jesus addresses the Messianic question directly – but in in a paradigm shifting Jesus-like way.

Back at the Triumphal Entry the people had been chanting “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David!” The Davidic sonship of the Messiah had long roots in prophetic literature – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos …

But Jesus questions the actual meaning of this popular expectation by pointing out a conumdrum posed by two apparently contradictory ideas. How can the Davidic origins of the Messiah be reconciled with the affirmation in Psalm 110 that the Messiah is David’s Lord?

In other words, what is the relationship of the Messiah to David? In what way is the Messiah David’s son?

And, once again the focus of this discussion is Christological. If David himself distingushed between his earthy kingly role and the exalted kingly role of the coming Messiah, the Messiah is not only the ‘Son of David’ but his Lord.

The Messiah’s role is not to be ‘just another David’ with a job of re-establishing a political sovereign and independent Israel. No, he comes to establish a more exalted kingdom, ruled by a Messiah sitting at God’s right hand. A kingdom and a king’s rule that will never end.

This is another text of astonishing self-affirmation that turns the teachers of the Law’s understanding of the Messiah inside out and upside down. The gospel [good news] Jesus delights the crowd with is that this exalted Messiah was sitting infront of them.

What no-one grasped yet was the most remarkable thing of all. The future exalted rule of the Messiah was about to be established through rejection, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension.

This is the gospel! The good news of the suffering servant, the crucified Messiah, the Son of David, who is now the reigning and exalted Lord.

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by 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.’ How then can he be his son?”

The large crowd listened to him with delight.


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