Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, The son of David.…
I. The Jews had not the slightest difficulty in answering THAT CHRIST WAS DAVID'S SON. They had learned that all their lives. Natural that He should come from the nation's greatest man. We all have our pictures for the future, and they correspond to Israel's Christ in the part they per. form in our lives. Whose sons are they to be? They are to be born of human exertion. The force of human exertion is all around us, and most of us owe all we have to it. It is the parent of great results in the world.
II. HUMAN EXERTION IS NOT ALL. David called Christ his "Lord." "The Lord said unto my Lord." They had magnified David and his greatness and his power so highly, that the thought of somebody being over him and having a right to command him did not form a very prominent feature in their conception of him; and yet they would have acknowledged that he had a Lord. For that, after all, is an essential of our thought in connection with everything. We all want God for a finish to our ideas, even if we do not want Him practically. If we are thinkers, we like God as representing to us the oneness of our system of thought. He forms a sort of easy transition from one line of thought-to another. The scientific man calls his God law or nature or some such vague term, and he magnifies it very much in all his thoughts and expressions. His Christ, his great ideal, is a lord to him — it is above all that he does. Another man makes his God the summary of all that is beautiful: he loves music or art, and the idea of God represents to him the perfection of that feeling of which he just catches a glimpse when he is wrapped up in one or other those pursuits. God stands to him for that wonderful effect which he cannot explain. Another man is busy with commonplace things; perhaps he sees much of the wickedness of the world, and he likes to think that there is a place where everything is better — that there is one who is not assailed, or even reached, with all that troubles him. He likes to think that there is one who realizes all that is good and pure, which he is sure exists, but in which his circumstances do not allow him to have a very great share. He holds to Christ as his Lord. He has one Christ whom he is to produce who is to be his son: he is working for that every day in the rush of life's battles: he has another Christ who is his Lord — a pure, a high, a noble ideal, far above him: his Lord. Religion supplies just that element of romance to life which we feel the want of, for there is little enough of romance in human exertion, after the novelty of some new effort is over. To many men that thought of God as the great mysterious Lord of life — that thought of a coming power, a Christ as one above and beyond us — is just what they need and hold to, because their life is so busy. It is the dreamers who generally supply the infidels; they do not feel the want of a thought superior to this world so much as the men of affairs who will not let this idea of God the Lord depart from their creed, but hold to it because their thought needs it, little as their lives may use it. We have seen that men do hold these two thoughts of the power that is in the world, and that is to save it. Now, Christ's question is seen in all its importance. It was, Can you hold these two together? David did; he called the same person Son and Lord; he worked to bring forth the Messiah by his great and powerful life, and yet all the time he knew that Messiah was his Lord. Whatever can combine these two ideas is the true Christ: that, and that only, can save the world. We separate these things. The things we work for, in our best moments, we will not acknowledge to be our Lord; She things we worship, the things we acknowledge to be great and pure, we forget when we get out at our work. Our sons are not our lords; our lords are not our sons. Hence, we have no true idea of Christ. Till our practical life, our life of human energy, and our thoughtful, our spiritual life, our life of aspiration, are at one, there is no hope of a real salvation for us. The flesh and the spirit are warring against each other, and that contest is wearing us out. Go tell that man who it working so hard to make a fortune, that that is all he is good for, that he has no thought above money, and he will say you insult him; he will tell you that all that work is only a means — he wants to make the fortune, but he has higher motives: and he will talk vaguely of doing good with it. He is the father of one thing, but he acknowledges another thing as lord. Who shall unite these two in our life? Who is our Christ? That is our Saviour's pointed question. Have we the right idea in searching for a great Deliverer? Only God, in connection with earth, can supply such a want. We shall appreciate that as soon as we see the demand. For, let our object come from the earth, from ourselves, from our fellow-men, and it may stimulate our exertions — it may make us work hard. But we are lords of this earth, we are equal to our fellow-men, and so such an object cannot be our lord-and the best part of us, the cry for something higher, remains unsatisfied. It cannot be the pure thought of God as above us, as apart from us, God the pure and holy One: for, then, how can it be the son of any man, however great and high; how can it call upon our exertions for their assistance in its appearance upon the earth? We are almost driven to give up this idea of a Christ, so difficult does it seem to be to satisfy it; and we go to asking little unimportant questions, and erecting smaller tests as the Pharisees did, or letting the thing drift along unsettled. Jesus claims to be the one that fills this important requirement, and tells us that we must get back to that idea of a Christ before We can appreciate Him; we must answer that old difficulty of David's. He is the Son of David, and the Son of every high and noble character who looks for Him. He came of David's line; He was the fruit of the kingdom which David planted; He carried out into fulness all the character and acts of David's life; He fulfilled all the prophecies and aspirations of David's Psalms. We all know that, if we understand the facts of our Bible at all. But that line of historical facts is but the expression of the fact that He is the Son of all high devoted energy. Christ is to succeed in the world by our energy consecrated to Him. He calls on us to labour for and with Him. Christian character is produced — not by being forced upon us from without, but by the quickening of our own being — that it may bring forth more of Christ in the world. Christ is among us; His life was earthly in all its development; it was His life on earth and among men that made Him Christ. He was David's Lord — far above David in every respect. We read the story of the two lives of David and Jesus, and we never think of doubting which was the life of the Master.
(A. Brooks, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.