In the previous post, I began an examination of Psalm 110. Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all refer to the Psalm as Messianic. Ancient Jewish scholars also believed the Psalm was Messianic. Jesus used Psalm 110 in Matthew 22:41-46 when He asked the Jewish leaders about the descent of the Messiah from David. We noticed in the previous post that Jesus descended from David and fulfills the qualities predicted about the Messiah in both Jeremiah 23 and Isaiah 11. If Jesus is the Messiah, Psalm 110 tells us quite a lot about Him. In this blog post, I plan to consider how Jesus is superior to David. The Messiah’s superiority is precisely what Jesus had in mind when He quoted Psalm 110, “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” David was a great king of Israel, a mighty conqueror, and a man with a heart like God. And yet this eminent king was surpassed in greatness by his descendant. Not only does David deferentially refer to the Messiah as Lord, but he also says Jehovah will seat his superior descendant on His right hand, the hand that represents power and authority. Is the Messiah merely the Son of David? No, He is much more.
Peter declares Jesus superior to David by virtue of His resurrection from the dead. In Acts 2:29, Peter applies Psalm 16:8-11 to Jesus, concluding that David must have predicted the resurrection of His Son. Why else would a man who had been dead nearly ten centuries say of himself, “you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay?” This, Peter says, is a prediction of the Messiah’s resurrection. The apostle goes on to say:
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:32-36).
These twelve men were fully persuaded that they witnessed Jesus risen from the dead three days after His crucifixion. They were fully persuaded that Jesus ascended to heaven on a cloud. Their power to speak in different languages demonstrated that David’s Lord was enthroned at the right hand of God just as the king had predicted.
Jesus is Lord. Jesus, “who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,” but “who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). He tells His apostles after His resurrection, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). Paul prayed that the Ephesians might know:
…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:19-23).
As David predicted, Jesus rules over everything in the spiritual and physical realms. However, one enemy remains: “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Though one enemy remains, hope endures: the resurrection that made Jesus Lord will also conquer the final enemy: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54). Thus, all enemies are placed under the feet of Jesus. “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’”