December 18, 2017

The Holy Martyr Sebastian and His Companions
Nativity Fast. Day of fast.

Hebrews 3:5-11, 17-19; Luke 20:27-44

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Today’s gospel is one of several encounters between Jesus and the Jewish religious authorities. Earlier, they questioned Jesus’ authority to teach, and then asked him to solve the dilemma of paying taxes to the Romans. And in today’s gospel, Jesus is asked to justify his teaching about the resurrection. In this case, he first responds in terms that his listeners will understand: instead of revealing that he will prove the resurrection of all people by his own rising from the dead, he points to passages in the Old Testament that indicate how, from the beginning, God created humans for eternal life.

But then, Jesus begins asking his challengers questions: if the book of Psalms was written by the Prophet David, and if the Psalms contain prophecies about the Messiah (who everyone agreed would be David’s descendant), how could David speak of the Messiah as “Lord,” as he does in Psalm 110? None of the Jewish authorities could answer Jesus’ question; but the point is not that he had bested them at a contest of scriptural interpretation. Rather, he has dropped a not-so-subtle hint that the Messiah will be much greater than they expected. Yes, he will be the son of David, but more than that, he will be the fulfillment of all the hopes of the Jewish people, even hopes that they dared not hope for. David was a great king who brought his people a measure of prosperity and pride, but Jesus, who is himself the Resurrection and the Life, will bring them renewed relationship with God in a way that death will never touch.