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The Implications of Jesus' Identity

Last Sunday at New Life, we saw the text where Jesus questioned, "Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?" (Mark 12:35). He then quoted David's words from Psalm 110:1, "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet,'" and he extended his question: "David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?" (Mark 12:37). So, which one is it? Is the Messiah a human descendant of David? Or is the Messiah David's Lord?

Of course, no one questioned God's Word when it came to the Davidic lineage of the promised Messiah. It was a commonly held belief in Jesus' day. "Does not Scripture say," asked some of Jesus' hearers on a certain occasion, "that the Messiah will come from David's descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" (John 7:42). Where did they get this from? To start, they were likely thinking of Micah 5:2, where the Scripture indicates that a future ruler over Israel would come from the small town of Bethlehem. But truth be told, the Old Testament is filled with many references to the Messiah's human, Davidic lineage. Here are some of those references:

  • Psalm 89:3-4

  • Isaiah 9:6-7

  • Isaiah 11:1-4 (Jesse was David's father)

  • Jeremiah 23:5-6

  • Jeremiah 30:9

  • Jeremiah 33:15-17

  • Ezekiel 34:23-24

  • Hosea 3:5

  • Amos 9:11

Certainly, the Messiah would be a human descendant of David! But Jesus was saying that he was also more than that. He was also David's Lord. And that could mean only one thing: the Messiah must be both human and divine. Why does this matter? Because if the Messiah is not both, we have no Savior.

It all goes back to the fall. It's where we learn that sin requires death for its payment (Genesis 2:16-17; cf. Romans 6:23). This is the reason why forgiveness of sin also necessitates innocent death: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). Turning back to Jesus now, if he is only divine, he could not die in our place. Why? Because God cannot die. At the same time, if Jesus was only a man—even a really good man—his death could not accomplish forgiveness for us; the death of an ordinary man can never pay for sin eternally. In order to be our perfect, sinless, innocent substitute and representative, the true Messiah-Savior must be both human and divine. We must have a God-man Redeemer, and that's exactly who we have in the Person of Christ.

Scripture for Meditation

"In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace" (Ephesians 1:7).


Thank you, Jesus, for taking on human flesh to be my sinless Redeemer. I praise you for your great love and grace!


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