Summary: The question about David's son in Luke 20:41-44 teaches us that Jesus is David's son and also David's Lord.
Jesus is in the final week of his life.
After his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus returned to the temple on Monday and drove out the merchants who were selling their wares and obscuring people’s access to God. This enraged the religious rulers, who then engaged in several controversies with Jesus. Commentator Darrell Bock says, “Luke 20:1 (quickview) –44 contains five controversies between Jesus and the leadership: the source of Jesus’ authority (20:1–8), Jesus’ confrontational parable of the vineyard (20:9–19), the dispute over Caesar’s tax (20:20–26), the Sadducees’ trick question about resurrection (20:27–40), and Jesus’ question about the interpretation of Ps. 110:1 (20:41–44).”
Today, we are going to look at that fifth controversy between Jesus and the religious leadership (20:41-44). In this controversy it is Jesus who asks a question. It is a question about King David’s son.
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.” ’
Commentator Tom Wright tells a story of children trying to fit a balloon into a box:
“Can you get this balloon into that box?” I asked the little children at the party. The balloon was big, and the box was small. They tried squeezing it in but it wouldn’t fit. It kept oozing out through their fingers. One little boy suggested sticking a pin into it, but the others agreed that that was cheating.
Then a little girl, with small, nimble fingers, took the balloon, and undid the knot that was keeping the air inside it. Very carefully she let about half the air out, and quickly tied it up again. Then, with a smile of triumph, she placed the balloon in the box, where it fitted exactly.
That wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind, but I had to admit it was clever. Meanwhile, another child had seen the answer. The box was made of cardboard, folded double in places. She unglued two of its sides, and opened it up to its full dimensions. Now the full-size balloon went in perfectly.
Wright goes on to say that some people struggle with the nature of Jesus’ identity. They imagine that God, in order to take on human nature, either stopped being God altogether (which is the equivalent of a pin in the balloon), or at least severely shrank his divine nature (which is the equivalent of letting the air out of the balloon). But the entire New Testament, including Luke, would disagree. The first-century Christians believed that Jesus was fully man and fully God. That is, Jesus had a human nature and a divine nature; two natures in one person. Or, as Tom Wright put it, “For the early Christians, part of the point about Jesus was that the living God was fully and personally present in him, not half present or partly present. What happened in Jesus, and supremely in his death, was the personal action of God himself, not some deputy or demi-god.”