January 15, 2023 Who is Christ?

Who is Christ?

January 15, 2023


Read Matthew 22:41-46.

One of the Pharisees, a lawyer, had just asked him about the greatest commandment and he had answer him. Now Jesus asks the Pharisees a question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”

In chapters 21 and 22 of Matthew, Christ was questioned by the chief priests, elders, Pharisees, Herodians, and the Sadducees. They all endeavored to ensnare him by asking him crafty questions.

First, the chief priests and elders, representing authority within the Jewish faith, asked him about authority (21:23). It was a religious question.

Secondly, the Pharisees and Herodians together asked him a question about politics.

Thirdly, the Sadducees asked him about the doctrine of the resurrection.

Fourthly, a lawyer asks him a question about the law.

Our Lord answers all their questions with great wisdom. Then he asks them a question concerning Christ. Of course, when he asks them this question, they do not know that he is the Christ.

Our Lord’s question is the question of questions. Their questions were about religion, politics, doctrine, and law. His question was about the center of all things! “They knew religion, politics, belief and the law, but they paid no attention to Christ.”[1]

This question, “What do you think about the Christ?” must be answered by everyone. And, how we answer may determine our eternal destiny! We must know this question and we must know the answer!

People today have many questions and many of their questions can be classified into these four categories: religion, politics, doctrine, and law.  And, there are even less important topics that people like to speak about like sports, fashion, hobbies, or the weather.  People like to talk about these things but seldom care to talk about Christ. Why do you think that is?

I think the reason is that, when the subject of Christ comes up, one reflects upon his person and a comparison arises in the mind between his perfection and our lack of perfection, his moral purity, and our lack of purity, his sinlessness and our sinfulness. This makes a person uncomfortable.

The disciple of Christ ought not to have this experience because, if taught properly, they will understand that we are fully accepted by God the Father because of the vicarious sacrifice of Christ and that they are clothed with the righteousness of Christ (see Romans, chapters three through five). But, either because of a lack of good teaching or too much of a  focus on their own behavior, a Christian may also be sidetracked with lesser questions.

Jesus asks them whose son is the Christ? They answered this question correctly. He is the son of David, meaning they understood that the Messiah was to be a descendant of David.

In Jewish thought, ancestors are always to be honored more than their descendants. This is still true in many cultures around the world, especially Asian cultures. It is less true in Western culture although, even here, consider how highly we honor the founding fathers of our nation such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

For an Israelite, it would be unthinkable for a parent to call their child (or any descendant), “Lord.” But this is what King David does. It is even more amazing because David is not only an ancestor, but he is also the king! He is not only a king, but the greatest king! Thus, when he calls the Messiah his Lord, how can it be explained?

The Pharisees could not answer this question. Our Lord bewildered them.

It can only be answered by knowing that the Christ is more than a mere human. Only if he is divine does it make sense that King David calls him his Lord.

The Pharisees did not see this. But we must see it. How can we see it? One way is by believing the plain testimony of Scripture. There are several verses that reveal that Christ is divine. But those are not enough. Consider verse 43:

He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, [2]

David was in the Spirit when he wrote Psalm 110. He was in the Spirit when he saw that the Messiah is Lord of heaven and earth. And, so must we receive the testimony of the Holy Spirit within ourselves in order to be convinced of who Christ is. The natural man cannot accept the truths of God. He will resist them all the way, including the Deity of Christ.

And so, despite several passages in the Bible that prove that Jesus is divine, many resist it and deny it, such as the Jehovah Witnesses and Iglesia Ni Cristo, who say that Jesus was just a created being (JW’s) or a mere man (INC).

Jesus is both the son of David and the Son of God!

How wonderful Christ is! He is both God and man, both the Son of God and the Son of David. Furthermore, He is both in the heavens and in us. He is inside and outside; He is on the top and on the bottom; He is the greatest and the smallest. Oh, Christ is everything! We need to know Him to such a degree. Then we shall say, “Lord Jesus, I cannot exhaust the knowledge of You. Lord, You are the only worthy One. If there is a God, this God must be You. If there is a genuine human being, this person must be You. Lord, You are the Savior, the Redeemer, the life, and the light.”[3]

Read 23:1-12.


Jesus says that the scribes and the Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat.” A seat is a position of authority. Jesus identifies the seat of Moses as a real thing, not an imagined thing. Authority exists in the universe and it has been established by God.


There are four primary institutions or realms where God’s authority is manifest. They are government, economics, church, and family. God has established government. He has established private property and the principle of labor for remuneration. He has established the church. And, he has established the family. Each one of these realms was divinely begun by God. Thus, he has authority over them, in them, and through them. God has set various guidelines, commands, by which these institutions may function and flourish.


Lucifer said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” Or, as the ESV puts it, “I will set my throne on high.” He goes on to say, “I will be like the Most High.” Satan attempted to usurp God’s authority. He desired to throw off God’s authority and to be his own authority. This was the origin of Satan and this is man’s greatest sin and problem. Man wants to violate God’s authority and establish his own. When he does this he follows Satan. This is known as autonomy. Autonomy means self-rule. Man wants to make his own laws. This is true both at the individual level and the societal level.


The sin of autonomy is not just a huge problem for the lost. It is a huge problem for Christians! Even Christians do not like to be told what to do. But that is what God’s authority is all about. It is about deference and dependence on God’s authority and an acknowledgment that we are inadequate to rule ourselves (Proverbs 3:5-7).


Watchman Nee said: “The controversy of the universe is centered on who shall have authority, and our conflict with Satan is the direct result of our attributing authority to God. To maintain God’s authority we must be subject to it with all our hearts.”

After God created Adam he gave him only a few charges. One was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This charge was putting Adam under authority that he might learn obedience. Adam was under God’s authority and the rest of creation, including Eve, were under Adam’s authority. Adam was God’s delegated authority because all authority comes from God. Since the first day of creation there is authority and now there is authority everywhere (by God’s will and design). Authority will continue into every age and forever. We must learn to be in subjection to authority now. If we do not then we will be most unhappy.


The fall of man was due to disobedience to God’s authority. What happened? Eve made her own decision upon seeing that the fruit was good and pleasant to the eyes. She uncovered her head. According to God’s design, Adam was her head, her authority. Her eating the fruit did not come out of subjection but it came out of her own will

Watchman Nee has simply commented upon this incident. It is not only Nee. Actually, almost all Bible scholars who believe that the Bible is God’s word have said something nearly identical:

“To rebel against God’s representative authority is the same as to rebel against God.”

When the devil came to her she should have said, “Talk to my husband.” But she took it upon herself to doubt God’s word. Now, it may be that if she had called Adam and he spoke to the serpent he may have made the same fatal error. We will never know since it did not happen that way. Could it be that he was influenced by his wife whom he cherished? If he was directly tempted by the serpent would he have been more on guard? We don’t know these things. They are only interesting to ponder. But we do know that Eve rebelled against both her head and God Himself.


We are all in the position of Eve today. Eve’s action was not governed by obedience. It was initiated by her own will. We are all faced with the same choice. Will we be subject to the authorities that God has established or will we do what we think is right?


You see, before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit their right and wrong were in God’s hand. If they did not hear from God they knew nothing at all about right and wrong. Their right and wrong were in God. By taking the fruit of that tree they found a source of right and wrong in something other than God Himself. Since the fall people need not find in God the sense of right and wrong. They find it in themselves. But this is the problem: The knowledge of right and wrong does not come by itself. It comes with a fallen nature. It comes with a darkened mind. It comes with inordinate emotions. It comes with a corrupted will. The work of redemption is to bring us back to the place where we will, once again, find our right and wrong in God.


“Since the fall of Adam disorder has prevailed in the universe. Everyone thinks he is able to distinguish good from evil and to judge what is right and wrong. They seem to know better than God. This is the folly of the fall. We need to be delivered from such a deception, because this is nothing other than rebellion.”[4]


The Bible is full of instances of authority and that God is sorely displeased when people, his own people, do not submit to delegated authority. In Numbers chapter 12, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses. The fact that Miriam’s name is mentioned first likely indicates that she was the instigator. They say that God speaks through them and not just through Moses. In other words, they did not accept Moses’ authority over them. There is always a small element of truth in the complaints of rebels. It was true that God spoke through Aaron and Miriam in a lesser way. But not with the authority that Moses had. God was angered by their rejection of Moses and Miriam contracted leprosy. This is another indication that she was the main complainer and instigator.


God asks, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant…?” [5]


In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with 250 others, complained. This time against Moses and Aaron both. They thought that they were exalting themselves. They thought that, but they were not. What we think is not always what is. If they were exalted at all it was because the Lord had exalted them. But it was really just a matter of having the authority.


God was so displeased with the Korah and the opposers that he killed them all! Rejecting God’s delegated authority is not a small matter. Yet, as Americans we are particularly exposed to this sin because we are, as a matter of our culture, fiercely independent. Independence has its rewards but it is a stumbling block when it comes to submission to authority.

Jesus directs all people to “do and observe” whatever those in spiritual authority say. There may be times when spiritual authorities get things wrong. If the wrongness of an action is in direct conflict with what God has already spoken in his word, then we must obey God and not men. This same principle is true with respect to government authority. In recent times, our own government has become increasingly godless and has passed laws that are in direct violation of God’s laws. In such cases, we must obey God rather than men.

Then our Lord exposes the motivations of the scribes and Pharisees. They sought recognition and self-glory. We must always be on guard of these things ourselves.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.[6]

Here the Lord shows how wide of the mark is the idea and practice of the clergy-laity system. While God has established leaders among God’s people, they ought never to be thought of as a special or privileged class. God’s children are of equal value and we should not exalt one group above another. But this is what has happened, especially in the Catholic Church and the older denominations. One tragic result of the clergy-laity distinction is the paralysis of the average church-goer. In many people’s minds, the clergy are getting paid to serve God so they do not have to! Christians will not speak in the assembly because we have paid people who do that. Christians will not evangelize because we have paid people who do that. Christians will not speak out against sin because we have clergy who can do that on the radio and television. The Lord condemns the notion of a separate class of people among his own.

The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. [7]

The greatest among us is not the one who teaches, nor the one who preaches, but the one who serves. This is because service to others is a sign of humility. We are all in the process of dethroning pride in our lives and cultivating humility. Since we all possess pride, it is a life-long process.

This matter of authority is directly related to who Jesus is. As God manifested in the flesh, he has supreme authority. We must obey the Lord Jesus at all times…when we like his commands but also when they impede against our desires. He has authority over us! In truth, he knows better than we do what is good for us. We think we know. But he really does know. Obeying Jesus is the path to true fulfillment!

“Lord Jesus, we commit to follow you and to obey you in a greater way than we have in years past. We beseech you to move in our hearts in such a way that our obedience to you is but the overflow of our love for you. Amen.”


[1] This powerful sentence is from Witness Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Message 59.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 22:43). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Message 59.

[4] Watchman Nee, from the book, Spiritual Authority.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Nu 12:8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 23:8–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 23:11–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.