“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.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” [Matthew 22:41-45]
The Tuesday of Passion Week was pregnant with activity, most of which was conversation and debate. The tension between Jesus and the religious leaders had mounted to an unprecedented degree, evidenced by the conclusion of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 26:1-2, which says, “When Jesus had finished all these saying, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then it says in the next two verses that the religious leaders, “plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.” This begs the question—what exactly did Jesus do or say on Tuesday that finally rocked the boat enough to make the religious leaders decide to go through with killing him?
The answer is found in what Jesus taught about himself. Jesus wasn’t just claiming to be a good guy with some helpful teachings, and he wasn’t claiming to be a new prophet that was starting a new religion. Rather, he was claiming that he was the Christ, the Promised Messiah to Israel and the whole world. This is exactly what we see in Matthew 22. Jesus asked the Pharisees a questions—‘whose son is the Christ?’—To which they replied ‘David.’
Then Jesus quoted Psalm 110 to point out that David called the Christ his Lord, revealing that the Christ is indeed not the son of David, but actually someone above David, someone David calls Lord. Jesus asked, ‘If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?’ No one had an answer, and no one asked him any more questions. Why? Because Jesus, in this passage and throughout his entire ministry, was claiming that the Promised Messiah who would reign on the throne of David forever was indeed not merely a son of David, but the very Son of God. More than that, Jesus was claiming to be that Son. He was the Christ that David called Lord in Psalm 110. This is why the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus. He wasn’t claiming to start a new religion, no, he was claiming to be the Lord and Christ that the Law had required and the Prophets had promised. Simply, Jesus was reading the Old Testament as autobiography, and he was telling everyone, including these religious leaders, that he was the Promised Messiah, the Son of God.
Jesus didn’t ignore or abolish the Old Testament; he saw it fully in light of himself. For Jesus, the Gospel didn’t start in Passion Week, and it didn’t even start in the New Testament; it started in the Old Testament. During this Passion Week, Christ invites us to recognize that the entire bible is about him and that every verse is telling the story of his redemptive love for his people. Where in the Old Testament do you see echoes of the gospel or shadows of Christ? What promises in Scripture do you hope in this Passion Week?