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Bible oldContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary really want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? I wonder.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 20:39-44

39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
43  until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”


This exchange takes place in Wednesday of Holy Week.

The scribes’ compliment to our Lord (verse 39) is in response to their question about marriage in heaven, about which you can read more in Mark 12:18-27.

Although Luke says this is the last challenge the hierarchy had for Jesus (verse 40), John MacArthur says that Matthew’s Gospel had one more:

Matthew records, though Luke does not, that the Pharisees, relentless guys they were, want to take one more shot.  So Matthew 22:33, “When the multitudes heard it, they were astonished at His teaching.”  As I said, it blew their minds.  “But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together and came up with a question.”

They’re just gluttons for punishment, aren’t they?  He put the Sadducees to silence.  They came up with one more question, you know what it was?  “What’s the greatest commandment?”  And, of course, Matthew gives us that account.

Oh, by the way, after that question, even the Pharisees were done, Matthew 22:46.  “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day – ” Wednesday “ – to ask Him another question.” 

Matthew 22:41-42 has a good introduction to Luke 20:41, illustrating more of the exchange Jesus had with the Pharisees:

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”

This establishes that they clearly believed that the Messiah would be a son of David. Matthew 1 gives a detailed account of Jesus’s lineage, establishing Him as one of King David’s descendants.

In the accounts from all three Synoptic Gospels, Jesus cites Psalm 110 (Luke 20:42-43). All Jews, from Old Testament days to the present, consider it a Messianic psalm. The Messiah would come from David’s family. MacArthur explains and includes Gospel passages where people referred to our Lord in this way:

Second Samuel 7:12-14 prophesies clearly the Messiah would come out of the line of David.  Read Psalm 89, you’ll find it there five, six times.  Messiah will come out of the loins of David.  Amos 9:11, Micah 5:2.  He’s going to be in David’s line.

Now this is commonly believed by the Jews of Jesus’ day.  It’s so obvious in the Old Testament, they all believed it.  For example, Matthew 9:27, “Jesus passed on, two blind men followed Him, crying out, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ ”  Not only was the Messiah to be a Son of David, everybody knew that, but Jesus was, in fact, a Son of David.  He was in the Davidic line and apparently the people not only knew the Messiah would be a Son of David, but they knew Jesus was a Son of David.

In fact, this was a common expression in Matthew 12:23, after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, “the multitudes were amazed and began to say, ‘This man can’t be the Son of David, can He?’ ”  So again indicating their understanding that the Messiah was to be a Son of David.

Matthew 15:22.  “A Canaanite woman came out from the region of Tyre and Sidon and began to cry out, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed’. ”  15:22, that was.  Matthew 20:30, a great multitude from Jericho, two blind men, again, and they say, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David.”  Then when He entered into the city, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” Matthew 21:9.  So everybody understood that.  Luke 18:38-39 also refers to the Jericho expression by the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Jesus’s purpose in asking them how He is the son of David is to reinforce that He is the Messiah (verse 41). The Jewish hierarchy knew His family tree very well. All His family records would have been kept in the temple.

MacArthur says that Jesus is pointing out a ‘divine reality’. Yet, the religious leaders refused to believe this reality because they feared they would lose their power and prestige. Since then, MacArthur says that both Jews and deists have reinterpreted Psalm 110 in various ways to deny that Jesus is the Son of David:

It wasn’t long after the completion of the New Testament and the availability of this that the Jews changed their viewpoint of Psalm 110 and they said it refers to Abraham in some strange way.  And others said, “No.  It refers to Melchizedek.”  And others said, “No.  It is a reference to Judas Maccabeus,” who was a ruler from 135 to 143 – 143 to 135 B.C.  And those who came up with the Judas Maccabeus idea took the Hebrew and altered it to create an acrostic of the name of Judas Maccabees.  They were the originators of the Bible codes.  They did anything and everything they could do to manipulate the text of Psalm 110 to make it non-Messianic, because if it is the Messiah to whom the Lord is speaking and the Messiah surely is David’s Son, David also calls Him “his Lord”.

… some liberals came along and said, “Oh, David was wrong when he said this.  And it was just a crazy moment for David.  He was wrong.”  And if you were leading Luke, you might conclude that, well, David said it but he shouldn’t have said it. 


What David said then was not wrong, it was right, absolutely right, absolutely accurate.  Same kind of construction there in Mark that you find in Acts 4:25, where it says, “By the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David.”  It’s the same thing.  The Spirit of God inspired David to say it.  David said the Messiah who hasn’t even come yet is now, at this moment, my Lord.  That kind of reminds me of what Thomas said when He saw Jesus after His resurrection and said, “My Lord and my God.”

It is coincidental, although highly appropriate, that this passage appears during Advent. Jesus is the Son of David and the Son of God. Matthew Henry’s commentary says:

Christ, as God, was David’s Lord, but Christ, as man, was David’s Son. He was both the root and the offspring of David, Revelation 22:16. By his human nature he was the offspring of David, a branch of his family by his divine nature he was the root of David, from whom he had his being and life, and all the supplies of grace.

May we remember Christ’s complete divinity and complete humanity as we celebrate Christmas.

Forbidden Bible Verses will return in the New Year.

Next time: Luke 20:45-47


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