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Jesus and Muhammad Ali. Matthew 22.41-46 

First—the Management would like to say that it (I) attached the wrong written briefing on Father’s Day. I’m sorry—the last was: ;
I do not want to short the fathers of their ‘due’. 

Now, Jesus and Muhammad Ali? Yup. As Jesus’ ministry winds toward its end, the Jewish leaders have put increasing pressure on him. They regularly tried to trap him with questions that would show him up as being either in conflict with the Law or seditious to Rome. They wanted to discredit him in front of the people so his growing influence would be extinguished. But now Jesus turns the tables—no, he doesn’t turn over the tables again, he turns the discussion back on them, and the pompous leaders find themselves stymied. 

Matthew writes, 
“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 says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for 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.” Matthew 22.41-46 

Do not make the mistake of missing Jesus’ most important question: 
“What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” 

Questions that required us to answer require us to make up our minds. As Jesus raises these questions, he is teaching the Jewish leaders (and their listeners) that he, the Messiah, was more than the conquering political king they were awaiting. Always the teacher, Jesus quotes a familiar scripture to the men to force them to make up their minds. You see, every Jew recognized Psalm 110 as being written by David and it was considered to be one of the clearest messianic passages in the Old Testament.1 

While Jesus has been referred to as the Son of David several times2, truly tracing his ancestry back to the beloved king of Israel, he is more—so much more. He illustrates this by using David’s own words in the psalm that pointed to him. Hebrew interpretation: The LORD said to my Lord – Yahweh (Lord God Almighty) said to Adonai …3 

Truly, Jesus was so much more than an aforementioned earthly king, as mere men did not do the miracles of Jesus. And there were too many miracles, and of various sort, for his contemporaries to disregard. 

You know—that question Jesus asked of the Jewish leaders that day is reminiscent of Jesus’ question of this disciples in Matthew 16.13, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ 
Straightaway, he made the question personal, “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”4 Don’t miss it. It is the most important question we too must answer: Who is Jesus Christ…to me? 

Our answer determines everything about us. It is a different question than ‘does God exist?’ See, these days few argue that Jesus Christ lived and walked the dusty roads of Palestine 2000-plus years ago. But Jesus claimed to be one with the Father5, meaning he claimed to be God. Jesus said of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”6 Friend, do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus alone is our access to God and to eternal life with him? This is a question you must settle. 

One of the saddest things I have heard in a long time was in the eulogy of Muhammad Ali. His wife said this of him, “He awoke every morning thinking about his own salvation, and he would often say, “I just want to get to heaven, and I’ve got to do a lot of good deeds to get there.”7 Interpretation: ‘if I work hard enough, then maybe Allah will let me in Heaven.’ That is beyond tragic. 

Jesus came to die a debt we could not pay ~ he came in and for grace. We must simply answer his question. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ ‘Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of God—the savior in whom I put my trust. Amen’ 


1 – “Jesus Questions the Pharisees” by Pastor Terry Smith,;
2 – six times in Matthew’s gospel 
3 – Because God’s covenant name in the Old Testament, Yahweh or Jehovah, was considered to be too holy to be spoken, the Jews would always substitute it with the word Adonai. So when God is called “Lord” (small case letters) it is used as a title. But when God is called “LORD” (all capital letters) it’s designating His covenant name. ibid. 
4 – Matthew 16.15 
5 – John 10.30; 6 – John 14.6 
7 - New York Times article:

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