What think ye of Christ? - Or, What are your thoughts concerning The Christ - the Messiah; for to this title the emphatic article should always be added.
Whose son is he? - From what family is he to spring?
They say unto him, The son of David - This was a thing well known among the Jews, and universally acknowledged, see John 7:42; and is a most powerful proof against them that the Messiah is come. Their families are now so perfectly confounded that they cannot trace back any of their genealogies with any degree of certainty: nor have they been capable of ascertaining the different families of their tribes for more than sixteen hundred years. Why, then, should the spirit of prophecy assert so often, and in such express terms, that Jesus was to come from the family of David; if he should only make his appearance when the public registers were all demolished, and it would be impossible to ascertain the family? Is it not evident that God designed that the Messiah should come at a time when the public genealogies might be inspected, to prove that it was he who was prophesied of, and that no other was to be expected? The evangelists, Matthew and Luke, were so fully convinced of the conclusiveness of this proof that they had recourse to the public registers; and thus proved to the Jews, from their own records, that Jesus was born of the family mentioned by the prophets. Nor do we find that a scribe, Pharisee, or any other, ever attempted to invalidate this proof, though it would have essentially subserved their cause, could they have done it. But as this has not been done, we may fairly conclude it was impossible to do it.
While the Pharisees - Jesus, having confounded the great sects of the Jews, proceeds, in his turn, to propose to them a question for their solution.
This was done, not for the purpose of vain parade and triumph, but:
1.to show them how ignorant they were of their prophecies.
2.to humble them in view of their ignorance.
3.to bring to their attention the true doctrine respecting the Messiah - his being possessed of a character superior to that of David, the most mighty king of Israel - being his Lord, at the same time that he was his descendant.
What think ye of Christ? - What are your views respecting the Messiah, or “the Christ,” especially respecting his “genealogy?” He did not ask them their mews respecting him in general, but only respecting his ancestry.
The article should have been retained in the translation - the Christ or the Messiah. He did not ask them their opinion respecting himself, his person, and work, as would seem in our translation, but their views respecting the Messiah whom they expected.
Whose son is he? - Whose “descendant?” See the notes at Matthew 1:1.
The son of David - The descendant of David, according to the promise.
How then - How is this doctrine that he is “descended” from David consistent with what David says when he calls him “lord?” How can your opinion be reconciled with that? That declaration of David is recorded in Psalm 110:1. A “lord” or master is a superior. The word here does not necessarily imply divinity, but only superiority. David calls him his superior, his lord, his master, his lawgiver, and expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Messiah was to be merely a descendant of David, as other men descended from parents if he was to have a human nature only if he did not exist when David wrote - with what propriety could he, then, call him his lord?
The Lord said - This is the language of David.
“Yahweh said to “my” lord “the Messiah” - sit thou,” etc. This was a prediction respecting the exaltation of Christ. To be raised to the right hand of a king was significant of favor, trust, and power. See the notes at Matthew 20:21. This was done respecting Christ, Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12. “Thine enemies thy footstool.” A footstool is that which is under the feet when we are sitting implying that we have it under subjection, or at our control. So, Christ shall put all enemies under his feet - all his spiritual foes - all that rise up against him, Psalm 2:9, Psalm 2:12; Hebrews 10:13; 1 Corinthians 15:25.
If David - If he was then David‘s lord if he was his superior - if he had an existence at that time how could he be descended from him? They could not answer him.
Nor is there any way of answering the question but by the admission that the Messiah was divine as well as human; that he had an existence at the time of David, and was his lord and master, his God I and king, and that as man he was descended from him.
Remarks On Matthew 22:3.
3. Attention to the affairs of this life, the love of the world, will shut many out of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 22:5. Some attention to those things is necessary; but such a devotion to these things as to lead to the loss of the soul never can be right.
4. It is treating God ungratefully to reject his gospel, Matthew 22:3-5. He has sent his Son to die for us; he has entreated us to be saved; he has followed us with mercies; and to reject all these, and refuse to be saved, is to treat him with contempt, as well as to overwhelm ourselves in condemnation. “Man has no right to be damned.” He is under the most solemn obligations to be “saved;” and after what God has done for us, deep and dreadful woe will await us if we are so foolish and wicked as to be lost.
5. Many of the poor and needy will be saved, while the haughty and rich will perish forever, Matthew 22:9-10.
6. Let those who make a profession of religion look often to the great day when Christ will search them, Matthew 22:11. There is a day coming that will try us. His eye will be upon us. He will read our hearts, and see whether we are clothed in his righteousness, or only the filthy rags of our own.
7. A profession of religion will not save us, Matthew 22:11-13. It is foolish to deceive ourselves. Nothing but genuine piety, true faith in Jesus, and a holy life, will save us. God asks not profession merely, but the heart. He asks not mockery, but sincerity; not pretension, but reality.
8. The hypocrite must perish, Matthew 22:13. It is right that he should perish. He knew his Master‘s will and would not do it. He must perish with an awful condemnation. No man sins amid so much light, none with so high a hand. No sin is so awful as to attempt to deceive God, and to palm pretensions on him for reality.
9. Pretended friends are sometimes more dangerous than avowed enemies, Matthew 22:16. Pretended friendship is often for the purpose of decoying us into evil. It throws us off our guard, and we are more easily taken.
10. The truth is often admitted by wicked people from mere hypocrisy, Matthew 22:16. It is only for the purpose of deceiving others and leading them into sin.
11. Wicked people can decide correctly on the character of a public preacher, Matthew 22:16. They often admit his claim in words, but for an evil purpose.
12. It may be right for us sometimes to attend to artful and captious questions, Matthew 22:18. It may afford opportunity to do good; to confound the wicked and to inculcate truth.
13. No cunning can overreach God, Matthew 22:18. He knows the heart, and he perceives the wickedness of all who attempt to deceive him.
14. It is right, and it is our duty to obey the law of the land, when it does not contravene the law of God, Matthew 22:21. “Conscientious Christians make the best citizens.” Compare the notes at Romans 13:1-7.
15. We should give honor to civil rulers, Matthew 22:21, We should pay respect to the office, whatever may be the character of the ruler. We should speak well of it, not abuse it; yield proper obedience to its requirements, and not rebel against it. Men may be wicked who hold an office, but the office is ordained by God Romans 13:1-2; and for the sake of the office we must be patient, meek, submissive, and obedient, Matthew 23:3.
16. Yet we are to obey civil rulers no further than their commands are consistent with the law of God, Matthew 22:21. God is to be obeyed rather than man; and when a civil ruler commands a thing contrary to the laws of the Bible and the dictates of our consciences, we may, we must resist it, Acts 5:29.
17. The objections of people to the doctrines of the Bible are often founded on ignorance of what those doctrines are, and distrust of the power of God, Matthew 22:29. People often set up a notion which they call a doctrine of the Bible, and then fight a shadow, and think they have confuted the truth of God, while that truth was, in fact, untouched. It is a totally different thing from what they supposed.
18. When people attack a doctrine they should be certain that they under stand it, Matthew 22:29. The Sadducees did not understand the true doctrine of the resurrection. The inquiry which they should have made was whether they had correct views of it. This is the inquiry which people ought always first to make when they approach a doctrine of the Bible.
19. We learn the glory and happiness of the state after the resurrection, Matthew 22:30 (Luke). We shall be in some respects equal to the angels. Like them we shall be free from sin, suffering, and death. Like them we shall be complete in knowledge and felicity. Like them we shall be secure of eternal joy. Happy are those - the good of all the earth who shall have part in that resurrection of the just!
20. The dead shall be raised, Matthew 22:31-32. There is a state of happiness hereafter. This the gospel has revealed; and it is the most consoling and cheering truth that has ever beamed upon the heart of man.
21. Our pious friends that have died are now happy, Matthew 22:31-32. They are with God. God is still their God. A father, or mother, or sister, or friend that may have left us is there in perfect felicity. We should rejoice at that, nor should we wish them hack to the poor comforts and the many sufferings of this world.
22. It is our duty to love God with all the heart. Matthew 22:37. No half, formal, cold, and selfish affection comes up to the requirement. It must be full, entire, absolute. It must be pleasure in all his attributes - his justice, his power, his purposes, as well as his mercy and his goodness. God is to be loved just as he is. If man is not pleased with his whole character he is not pleased with him at all.
23. God is worthy of love. He is perfect. He should be loved early in life. Children should love him more than they do father, or mother, or friends. Their first affections should he fixed on God, and fixed on him supremely, until they die.
24. We must love our neighbor, Matthew 22:39. We must do to all as we would have them do to us. This is the law and the prophets: this is the way of justice, of peace, of kindness, of charity, of benevolence. If all men obeyed these laws, the earth would be a paradise, and man would taste the bliss of heaven here below.
25. We may ask here of each one, What think you of Christ? Matthew 22:42. What do you think of the necessity of a Saviour? What do you think of his nature? Is he God as well as man, or do you regard him only as a man? What do you think of his character? Do you see him to be lovely and pure, and is he such as to draw forth the warm affections of your heart? What do you think of salvation by him? Do you depend on him, and trust in him, and expect heaven only on the ground of his merits? Or, do you reject and despise him, and would you have joined in putting him to death? Nothing, more certainly tests the character, and shows what the feelings are, than the views which we entertain of Christ. Here error is fatal error; but he who has just views of the Redeemer, and right feelings toward him, is sure of salvation.
26. We have in this chapter an illustrious specimen of the wisdom of Jesus. He successfully met the snares of his mighty and crafty foes, and with infinite ease confounded them. No art of man could confound him. Never was wisdom more clear, never more triumphant.
The wisdom of Christ's answer had convicted the scribe. He knew that the Jewish religion consisted in outward ceremonies rather than inward piety. He had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings, and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. The readiness of this man to acknowledge the correctness of Christ's reasoning, and his decided and prompt response before the people, manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to face the frowns of the priests and the threats of the rulers to speak the convictions of his heart. “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” DA 608.1
The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins. DA 608.2
The Pharisees had gathered close about Jesus as He answered the question of the scribe. Now turning He put a question to them: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?” This question was designed to test their belief concerning the Messiah,—to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, “The Son of David.” This was the title which prophecy had given to the Messiah. When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, “Is not this the Son of David?” The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, and many others had cried to Him for help, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David.” Matthew 15:22. While riding into Jerusalem He had been hailed with the joyful shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:9. And the little children in the temple had that day echoed the glad ascription. But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. They did not understand that the Son of David was also the Son of God. DA 608.3Read in context »
Christ did not make-believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” He was the son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent. He is declared to be a man, even the Man Christ Jesus. “This man,” writes Paul, “was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house.” LHU 74.4Read in context »
“What think ye of Christ?”—this is the all-important question. Do you receive Him as a personal Saviour? To all who receive Him He gives power to become sons of God. MH 457.1
Christ revealed God to His disciples in a way that performed in their hearts a special work, such as He desires to do in our hearts. There are many who, in dwelling too largely upon theory, have lost sight of the living power of the Saviour's example. They have lost sight of Him as the humble, self-denying worker. What they need is to behold Jesus. Daily we need the fresh revealing of His presence. We need to follow more closely His example of self-renunciation and self-sacrifice. MH 457.2
We need the experience that Paul had when he wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. MH 457.3Read in context »
The centuries that have passed since Christ was among men have not lessened the confidence of our testimony that Christ is all that He claimed to be. Today the question may be repeated, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matthew 22:42), and without a moment's hesitation the answer may be given, “He is the light of the world, the greatest religious thinker and teacher the world has ever known.” All who hear His voice today, all who study the principles set forth in His teaching, must say, in truthfulness, as did the Jews of His day, “Never man spake like this man.” “Is not this the Christ?” (John 7:46; 4:29).22 TMK 111.4Read in context »