David’s Son, David’s Lord (Mark 12:35-37)

“Tis the long-expected prophet, David’s son, yet David’s Lord…” -Stricken, Smitten & Afflicted

David’s Son & David’s Lord

Mark 12:35-37

In 1804, Thomas Kelly of Scotland wrote his deeply haunting hymn, “Stricken, Smitten & Afflicted”.  Hearing Fernando Ortega sing it transports you to the cross and the One suffering on it.  The first stanza says:

Stricken, Smitten & Afflicted

See Him dying on the tree

Tis the Christ by man rejected

Yes, my soul, tis He, tis He

Tis the long expected Prophet

David’s Son, yet David’s Lord

By His Son God now has spoken

Tis the True & Faithful Word

It is a theologically rich hymn, and its theme is grave and sobering.  It comes from a man who knew Jesus closely from the Scriptures.  The title of our sermon today comes from that line, “David’s Son, yet David’s Lord”.  It’s an interesting line.  It’s dead on Biblically.  Jesus was both David’s Son, and he was also David’s Lord.

In His comments in this passage, Jesus, was laying down the truth about Himself as the Christ.  The truth is that the Christ is one Person who is both God and Man.  We could say Jesus preemptively strikes down errors that would arise later after He was in heaven.  Errors that would distort His identity as God and Man.  For instance:

  • There is Ebionism, which arose in the 100’s.  Ebionism says Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary, and it wasn’t until his baptism that he was “elected” to be the Son of God.  At that moment, according to Ebionism, Jesus was joined with the Christ “nature”.  Patently unbiblical
  • Arianism (300’s).  A denial of the Trinity. Jesus is not equal with God the Father, was created by the Father before anything else.  The Nicene Creed was written to refute this error:  “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made”
  • Eutychianism (400’s).  The divine and human nature were mixed together in Jesus.  Neither fully divine nor fully human.  Condemned in the Chalcedonian Creed (451):  “truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin….to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person….” 

These are important errors that needed to be refuted by solid biblical theology and competent theologians.  Why?  Why is it important that we have an accurate understanding of who God is?  Why can’t we think of Him as we want?  Why can’t we think God is like whatever any religion says He is?  Well first off do you like it if people think things about you that aren’t true?  Especially if those ideas about you unfairly make you look bad.  And that’s what all wrong thinking about God does – it makes us think of Him less than what He really is.  He is always greater than we can imagine, that’s why we need revelation from Him to tell us what He is like, rather than making up our own ideas about Him.  Think about it, if you don’t like it when its done to you why is it okay to do it to God?  You care about people knowing you for who you are because you get that from God – you get that from the image of God that you bear.  Furthermore, as you read the Bible you find God is quite emphatic that people think of Him correctly.  

  • “You shall have no other gods besides Me” means you shall not think of Me as being like other so-called gods, and, you shall not think of them as being like me.  
  • The Father is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4).  That means God wants people to think of Him correctly – which means that the way we imagine God to be is aligned with who He actually is.  
  • “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.”  Jesus is God, and, represented God the Father exactly to the world so that the world can know what God is actually like.  God wants to be known for who He is.  This is why we as people have that urge to be known for who we are, its part of the image of God in us.  
  • “Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God and the Son you have sent.” (Jn 17).  
  • “We should not think the divine being is like silver or gold or stone…in the past God overlooked such ignorance…”  (Acts 17).  God does not want us to have ignorant views of who He is.  

Are we getting this picture?  God takes very seriously how we view Him.  This is why Jesus asked the disciples several times, “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”  That’s the question for us today:  “Who do you say that Jesus is?”  “In what way do you understand His identity?”  

His words today in this passage form the very core of how we are supposed to understand Him:  He is David’s Son, and He is David’s Lord.  But what does that mean?!  

Let’s look under 3 Headings today:  1) QUESTION, 2) QUOTE, 3) QUANDARY


Jesus was teaching in the temple courts.  He has taught from a boat to crowds on the seashore.   He has taught crowds packed into people’s homes.  He has taught sprawling crowds on hillsides.  He has taught crowded synagogues.  Here we find Him again, teaching large crowds in the temple courts in Jerusalem.

With this crowd hanging on His every word He asks a question.  Its an interesting question.  It’s a thought-provoking question:  “How is it that the teachers of the Law say that the Christ is the son of David?”  This is what you call an attention-getter.  Everyone went quiet.  Babies stopped crying, side-conversations instantly stopped and even the background music paused.  There reason is because the most fundamental understanding of the MEssiah is that He would be the son of David.  Jesus seems to be challenging that view.  Is that what He was doing?  Was Jesus about to take on the most learned men of Israel and refute the notion that the Messiah will be David’s son?  The answer is “No.”  

It is impossible to understand the Jewish Messiah if we don’t understand that He will be David’s son.  As a Jew, “Son of David” was not merely a recognition of Jesus’ ancestry.  Son of David was Messianic.  It is arguably the most defining characteristic of the Messiah – that he would be the Son of David.  Matthew opens his Gospel with a lineage tracing from David to Jesus.  Matthew does this because the first thing a Jew would have examined when hearing Jesus was the Messiah would have been to verify if He was David’s descendent.  Luke tells us what Gabriel told Mary when informing her she was pregnant with God’s Son:  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”.  Romans opens majestically on this point:  “the Gospel …. Regarding His Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David” (1:3).  The first sermon in Church history, Peter uttered “David was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne” (Acts 2:29-35).  The crowds hailed Jesus as He came into Jerusalem Palm Sunday, “Hosanna the Son of David” (Mt. 21:9).  Among the crowds a blind man saw Jesus for who He was when he called out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mk. 10). 

Jesus is not offering a new perspective of the Messiah.  He is not denying that the Messiah would be David’s Son.  He’s really not even trying to discredit the teachers of Israel. He’s getting their attention so He can point out to them that the Messiah, yes, will be David’s son, but, He will also be more than David’s Son.  How’s He going to do that? That’s our next point…


The Quote.  In order to show that the Christ will be more than just David’s Son, Jesus quotes David himself.  Verse 36 says, “………”  This is a quote of Psalm 110:1.  It is one of the great Messianic Psalms – Psalms that speak of the Messiah, or, are written as if the Messiah is speaking.  Other great Messianic Psalms include Psalm 2 and 22.  But Psalm 110:1, like all these great Psalms centers on majestic themes like Christ’s rule and vanquishing of His enemies.

Psalm 110 is one of the most quoted Psalms in the NT:

  • Peter preached the first Christian sermon in history and quoted the verse, “For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet David said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” (Acts 2:34)
  • 1 Cor. 15:25, “For He [Jesus] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.”
  • The whole chapter of Hebrews 1 is to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus over the angels.  Quoting Psalm 110:1 it says, “To which of the angels did God ever say:  ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”


Before we go any further, I have to ask:  Did you notice what Jesus did?  He confirmed that what David said was actually God speaking through David. “The Holy Spirit, speaking through David said….”  This means David was not just the king of Israel, but, he was a prophet, and his words are Scripture (Acts 2:30).  What Jesus touches on right there is called the doctrine of “Inspiration”.  Inspiration does not refer to the emotional motivation that rouses someone to do something great.  Theologically, Inspiration means that God spoke through men.  “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16).  “Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21).  David was carried along by the Holy Spirit.  As was Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, John, Peter and so on.  Their words did not “originate” in them – Their words are ultimately the words of God.    Inspiration means that what God wanted to be communicated was communicated through those men.  The message is what God intended.  The men He used had different personalities, education levels, vocabularies, manners of speech, and so on.  And while their “style” you might say is evident in their writings, God used their style to get His message through.  That’s inspiration:  what David said did not come from David ultimately, but, from the Holy Spirit, who spoke through Him.  What does that mean?  It means you believe it and live by it.  

More Than David’s Son

So back to our text.  What is Jesus doing?  By pointing people to David’s own words about the Christ, Jesus wants people to see that the Christ is more than just the son of David.  There is more to the Christ than people realize.

Illustration:  In 1995 the Hubble Space Telescope spent 10 days pointed at a tiny spot in space.  It was a dark spot where no stars or anything were visible.  Of the literally billions of different directions to point the telescope there were endless choices of stars and galaxies visible to us in which we could discover more.  But, some genius said lets point it at the dark spot.  After 10 days the Hubble had found the most important image of space ever to that time.  In that seemingly empty, dark part of the universe were thousands of galaxies with billions of stars.  A closer look revealed much more was there than people thought.  

The same is true with Jesus.   

The teachers emphasized the Christ would be David’s Son.  But Jesus says, “Yeah, but David said the Christ was His Lord!”  His son will be his Lord?!  That is all backwards in Jewish and Biblical thinking.  In Jewish and Biblical thinking, those who come before you are greater than you.  That’s the basis for respecting elders, honoring parents, and ultimately worshipping God – who comes before everything.  “How can the son, who is less than the father, at the same time be greater than the father by being his lord? How can the Christ, who is less than david as his son, be greater than David by being his Lord?”  

The answer in short is this:  Before Jesus came in human form He existed as God.  He came before David as God, but, in the divine plan God would become the man Jesus, who would come after David and as a descendent of David.  Jesus is both GOd and man.  That is how He is both David’s Son, and David’s Lord.  

Let’s look at 3 points to this verse.

First, The Father is speaking to the Son.  The LORD said to my Lord. You have 2 Lord’s here, which is confusing.  But lets give them different, but accurate titles:  God said to my King.  Jehovah said to Adonai.  God the Father said to God the Son.  Notice the whole Trinity is included now in this short passage:  the Holy Spirit spoke through David, and the Father speaks to the Son.  

Have you ever considered the fellowship between teh Father and the Son?  Have you eve thought of the things they say to each other?  “You are my Son” the Father said from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, “with you I am well pleased.”  Hebrews 10:7 records the Son saying to the Father, “Here am I.  I have come to do your will”  Psalm 2, Jim Warrens favorite Psalm, the Father says to the Son, “You are my Son, today I have become your Father.  Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will rule them [the nations] with an iron scepter;  you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (v7-9)  Psalm 22 is one long speech of the Son to the Father.  The whole chapter of John 17 is the Son praying to the Father, saying things like “I have finished the work you gave me”, and “may they be one as you and I are one”.  In John 12 the Son told the Father to glorify His name and the Father responded with “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.” (v28).  Perhaps most haunting are the last words of the Son to the Father while dying on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Church we are brought into a privilege unfathomable to have the recorded communication between God the Father and God the Son.  Let us cherish these divine verbal intercourses.

What is the importance of them speaking to each other?

Second, the Father seats the Son next to Him.  Sit at my Right Hand…At YHWH’s right hand (Heb. 1:3; Rom. 8:3_)His divine authority and equality with the Father is seen in the fact He sits at the right hand of God on the very throne of God.  No one but God sits on that throne.

Third, the Father will subject the Enemies of the Son to Disgrace.  “Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”  Putting your enemies under your feet was a graphic metaphor.  It showed not only were you victorious over them, but, they have been humiliated and disgraced in their defeat.  Make no mistake, Jesus is going to disgrace and humiliate His enemies when He comes.  

The Quandary (37)

The crowds were delighted with him.  They loved listening to Him.  There is a lesson in that for us.  

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