Treasures From the Original

A Single Word Declares the Deity of Christ

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Jesus asserted His own deity by asking the Pharisees a vital question they could not answer.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part two of a series. Read part 1.

Jesus asserted His own deity by asking the Pharisees why David, in Psalm 110:1, referred to his own descendant, the promised Messiah, as "Lord". The Pharisees were unable to answer.

In this brief series we are examining three cases, all involving fundamental doctrines, that underscore a vital truth: Every word of Scripture - even the tenses of verbs, the use of the singular versus the plural, or the use of a single word - is absolutely vital in the revelation of the eternal plan of God. We begin with Jesus' declaration of the truth of the resurrection of the dead in response to the unbelief of the Sadducees - the theological liberals of their day.

In this installment, we examine a case in which Jesus declared His deity in response to the unbelief of the Pharisees - men who were considered the theological conservatives of the time.

"The Lord Said Unto My Lord"

In the verses immediately following the account we examined previously, we read that the Pharisees next tried their hand at tricking Jesus, but Jesus instead trapped them:

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. (Matthew 22:41-46)

Jesus asserted His own deity - the deity of the Christ - by asking the Pharisees why David in Psalm 110:1 referred to his own descendant, the promised Messiah, as "Lord". The Pharisees were unable to answer, and after this did not dare to ask Him any more questions - questions that would further reveal their blindness concerning the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures, and their consequent rejection of the Messiah who now stood before them. Just as He had done with the Sadducees, Jesus put the Pharisees to flight with an argument grounded on a single word from the Old Testament - in this case, the word "Lord".

How Is It With You?

Dear reader, this raises a vital question: Do you confess Jesus as Lord? And if so, do you merely say the words, or is it a vital reality with you? The Lordship of Jesus Christ is objective truth, and genuine confession of that truth is not optional for a Christian:

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)

 We do not, as so many teach today, "make Jesus Lord" as though it were our decision. Every true believer confesses the fact that Jesus is Lord. Every true believer endeavors to submit to the Lordship of Christ in every area of life. Furthermore, the original Greek at this point is very specific: "if you confess with your mouth your Lord Jesus" (sou kurion Iesoun). Salvation involves confession that Jesus is my Lord. Simply put, there is no Christianity without confession of the Lordship of Christ.


Next: The Use of a Singular vs. a Plural Reveals the True Nature of the Believer in Christ


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