The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were constantly trying to trap Jesus in an effort to discredit Him and His teachings. They would pose difficult theological questions to which they hoped He would not either not be able to answer or that He would commit blasphemy with His answer and the people would no longer follow Him. However, in Luke 20:41-44, Jesus posed His own difficult theological question: “How could the Messiah be both the son of David and David’s divine Lord?” In other words, is the long-awaited Messiah the Son of David, or the Son of God…or both?

Attempting to trap the Son of God

Just prior to Luke 20:41-44, the Sadducees were asking Him about marriage in the afterlife. First, you need to understand that the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection from the dead because they did not see it in what was their “Bible” of that day. The Torah consisted only of Genesis through Deuteronomy. Based on Deuteronomy 25:5, they believed in the law of levirate marriage which said that if a husband died and left no offspring, his brother would marry his wife and give her child in his name. So the Sadducees posed a question that if there were seven brothers and they all married the same woman (based on this levirate marriage law), then whose wife would she be in the resurrection?

Jesus answered their question, saying that those who attain the resurrection from the dead are not given in marriage, nor do they die anymore. They also are equal to angels and are sons of God. The Sadducees mistakenly assumed that life after the resurrection of the body would include the same basic structures as earthly life. After this encounter, they stopped baiting Jesus into a theological duel, because they only ended up looking foolish to the people rather than discrediting Jesus.

A Question from the Son of God

The Sadducees may have stopped baiting Jesus, but Jesus gives poses a question of his own to them: “How could the Messiah be both the son of David and David’s divine Lord?” The Bible does not provide an answer from the religious leaders and Jesus left the question open. The only possible answer is that Jesus, the Messiah, was both fully God, making Him Lord, and fully human, a descendant or son of David. For the religious leaders to provide this answer would mean that they would have to acknowledge that Jesus is who He said He is – the Messiah.

What the OT Scriptures say about the Son of David being the Son of God

  • 2 Samuel 7:16 tells us of the promise God made to David: “your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”
  • In Isaiah 11:1, the prophet foretold: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Jesse is David’s father.
  • Jeremiah writes: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:5–6).

The New Testament shows us that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies that the Son of David is the Son of God

  • The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)
  • He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:32–33)
  • Matthew and Luke provide genealogies tracing Jesus back to David.
  • Jesus encountered several people who called Him “Son of David, such as Bartimaeus, the blind beggar sitting near the road in Mark 10:47-52.
  • James quotes from the book of Acts (Acts 15:15-16) and implies Jesus as David’s descendant: “With this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it.'”  The “tent of David” refers to the lineage of David through the coming Messiah.

No Room to Doubt the Son of God

The Bible leaves no room to wonder if Jesus is the fulfillment of the 2 Samuel promise to David. Because Jesus was a born from the lineage of David, He was by earthly standards the “Son of David.” But the only way possible for David to call Jesus “Lord” when Jesus would not be born for another 42 generations later is that Jesus also has to be the eternal Son of God – the Messiah the Jews had been waiting on from the time of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. It was a plain as it could be – had the Sadducees simply believed. What about you? Do you believe that Jesus is both the Son of David and the Son of God?


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