The Pharisees asked Jesus questions sometimes trying to catch him in one of their traps. They attempted this in Matthew chapter 22 with a question about taxes. The Herodians were with them for their purposes.
If Jesus said he was in favor of taxes, then the Pharisees could accuse him before the people for being pro-Roman. If Jesus opposed taxes, then the Herodians would report his disloyalty to Herod Antipas, who was Rome’s authority.
But after Jesus answered their question, he gave them one of his own. It was not designed to catch them in disloyalty to Rome nor was it designed as a trap. Jesus was trying to teach them something.
The Lord asked the Pharisees who the Messiah is and whose son he is. It seems as though the Pharisees didn’t need time to consider their answer. They replied, “The son of David” (Matthew 22:21).
Ah, but the instruction was in the next question Jesus asked about Psalm 110:1, written by King David. “If David calls him Lord, then how is he his son?” Jesus said. The question revolves around the word, “Lord,” or in the Psalm. The first use of the word is the “family” name of God, Yahweh, the name the Hebrews would not pronounce out of respect for God.
What was the second “Lord?” W. Terry Varner wrote, “Psalms 110 shows the Messiah had a two-fold nature, human and divine. The royal sonship of Christ from David’s line is in Matthew 1:1-8 and his human sonship through David’s line to Adam is in Luke 3:23-38.”[i]
The lesson was that they were not just looking at a human being, but a divine one, too. It also showed them that this two-fold being they were addressing had enemies. The Pharisees were supposed to be his subjects obedient to him, but instead, they were disobedient. Jesus was trying to help them see the truth.
Many do not believe Jesus to be the Son of God. Many have struggled with this, but the struggle doesn’t have to continue. What is needed is a study of God’s word. The gospel is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16). If you need to understand the truth as taught by Jesus, you can.
Jesus wants to teach you something. If you don’t believe him as the Son of God, he has a lesson or two for you. Just start studying the word of God. That is where the truth is.
[i] “A Homiletic Commentary on the Book of Matthew, Garland Elkins and Thomas B. Warren, editors; Getwell Church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee; Sain Publications, 1988.