Mark 12:35

While Jesus was teaching in the Temple Courts, he asked, “How is it that the teachers of the Law say that the Christ is to be David’s son?

from time immemorial
sound good phrases
doubling as institutional justification
embed themselves as given
in teaching a next generation

time marches on
carrying unsupported baggage
capitalized truth capitalized
down dim corridors
past every question

flat-earthed earth centrism
has much observational data
grounding past wondering
until one stray data point
unravels the whole scheme

Here begins another riddle in the same form as Baptizer John’s formulation that someone coming after him comes before him.

This question for the scribes of Jesus day is also one for the fundamentalist or literalist of any generation. The starting place of privileging one verse above all others to prove a point.

Once a premise has been laid down, we will do all manner of mental gymnastics to justify how it is the controlling verse for all else.

Our desire to be right often comes at the expense of the sweet mysteries of life. Bratcher388 identifies a problem with this verse comes when a physical link is required between David and Messiah (staying with the Hebrew terminology rather than the Greek, Christ, helps clarify the issue). That link is weak in Mark as he doesn’t establish this marker as clearly as Matthew’s birth story connecting Jesus’ birth place with David’s—Bethlehem.

Orthodoxy asks the translator to stick with a literal translation that would raise any question about the necessity of a Davidic ancestry for Messiah, as though something were impossible for G*D or to put G*D in the role of Herod, that once a pronouncement is made it can never be un-announced. Thus Bratcher’s problem:

… the form would seem to deny the fact that Jesus was the offspring of David. To avoid this implication, which may be much stronger in some languages than in the Greek or English, one may be obliged to insert “merely” or “just”, e.g. “the Christ is just the son of David”, implying inferiority of status.

Is “son of David” a physical descendent or anyone, for any reason who can establishes a claim of Messiahship?