Markby Robert M. Solomon
All Jesus' opponents fell silent when they realised they were no match for Him. The last man to ask Jesus a question had in fact asked with sincerity, on the very verge of believing.
As there were no more questions from them, Jesus himself asked one (vv. 35-37). The teachers of the law taught that the Messiah (Christ) was the son (descendant) of David. Jesus, quoting from Psalm 110:1, then pointed out that David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had addressed the Messiah as ″Lord″ (v. 37)? How could the Messiah be merely David's earthly descendant if David paid homage to Him (Peter later used this verse in his Pentecost sermon to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus)?
As Matthew 22:46 records, there was an embarrassing silence as the religious leaders who had come to trap Jesus with their clever questions hung their heads in shame, unable to give a proper answer. They must have wondered, ″Where does this simple Galilean learn to speak so well? Does he have a secret teacher?″ Each silent minute made them look more and more ignorant. The large crowd watched all this with elation (v. 37). Never had they seen their pompous leaders silenced in this way. These religious leaders failed to see that Jesus was both ″the Root and the Offspring of David″-that the Messiah was not merely a descendant, but also the divine Lord and Creator of David (Revelation 22:16).
Jesus then openly criticised His critics and warned the people, ″Watch out for the teachers of the law″ (v. 38). They were self-centred men who sought worldly honour. They liked to ″walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the market-places″. The religious leaders clenched their fists in anger as the crowd chuckled with delight-Jesus had described them so accurately and publicly ridiculed their hollow religion of appearances. They made lengthy prayers to impress others (v. 40), but God was not moved by them. They claimed all the best seats of honour (v. 39). But their actions were even more sinister and evil. They devoured widows' houses, cheating them of their only property and means of survival (v. 40).
Jesus condemned the religious leaders' hypocrisy and evil. In describing their behaviour and motives, Jesus demonstrated that God had been watching them closely and would punish them severely (v. 40). Anyone who believed and followed them would suffer the same consequences.
Compare and consider the responses to the identity of Jesus as portrayed in Psalm 110:1: the religious leaders, the crowd, and the people at Pentecost listening to Peter in Acts 2. What do their various responses tell you?
Consider Jesus' strong criticism of the teachers of the law. How did He expose them and why do you think He had such harsh words for them? What would Jesus say today if He visits our churches?