While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
In this passage, we hear an interesting but enigmatic conversation that Jesus has with the Pharisees while they are debating theology. Jesus asks: "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They answer, "The son of David." They had the answer at the tip of their tongues because it was part of their catechism. However, for once, they got something right!
Then Jesus asks them another question. "How is it then that David calls him 'Lord'? Jesus is referring to the messianic prophecy contained in Psalm 110, where David refers to the Messiah as Lord. David wrote: The LORD says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'" (Psalms 110:1).
Then Jesus asks the zinger question. "If David calls the Messiah, "Lord," how can he be his son?" It threw the Pharisees into a spin, and perhaps you too, because Jesus IS referred to as the "son of David" in Scripture (Mark 10:47), so let me explain. When we call Jesus the "son of David," we don't mean that he's the literal son of David. Rather, we mean that he comes from the line of David, as prophesied (Isaiah 9:6-7).
And what did David mean when he said, "The LORD says to my lord." English can be a confusing language, but you know that already. We pronounce PUT as put, but BUT as but. Go figure. Anyway, if we read David's statement in the original Hebrew, we would read it as: Yahweh says to my Adonai.
Yahweh is the personal name of God used in the Old Testament. Adonai is also used in the Bible to refer to God, but differently than Yahweh. So God is speaking to God? How does this make any sense? It does when we read the rest of the psalm and realize that God is speaking to the Messiah, who is Jesus. So, God the Father is speaking to God the Son!
This is one of the verses that underscores our belief in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It might take some effort to figure it out, but do it; it is worth the effort.
May the Spirit be with you.