Christ’s use of Psalm 110 to expose the Pharisees’ poor grasp of the Messiah’s identity is fascinating (Matt. 22:41–45). A first-century Jew might call his father “lord,” but a Jewish father would not address his son in this way. Thus, David reveals that his son is no mere man when he names him “Lord” (Ps. 110:1). That “the Lord” (Yahweh, the only true God) seats David’s son at His right hand confirms this reasoning, for the one at the king’s right hand shares in his reign. God’s authority belongs to the Messiah, making Him greater than David.
Matthew 22:46 indicates that the Savior’s reasoning from Psalm 110 has silenced all His accusers. Christ’s wisdom has at several points stopped the tongues of His hearers (7:28–29; 22:22, 33), and Matthew records such episodes, no doubt, so that we realize Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:30). We will conclude our study today with a brief look at this theme in Scripture.
Proverbs 8 was a key text in the christological controversies of the early church. It was thought this chapter on “woman wisdom” was about Christ, since we have seen that “wisdom of God” is one of Jesus’ titles. Heretics like Arius cited Proverbs 8:22 as proof that the Son of God was a created being. The orthodox Athanasius countered him, saying that Proverbs refers to the point at which the eternal Son of God became flesh, not His creation in eternity past. As the second person of the Trinity, Athanasius said, the Son has always existed.
The orthodox likely misread Proverbs 8, though they rightly affirmed the uncreated nature of the Son (Micah 5:2; John 1:1). But the Arians were also incorrect to identify the Son with “woman wisdom.” Proverbs 8, first and foremost, poetically conveys the splendor of Solomon’s wisdom by underscoring its antiquity. Still, “woman wisdom” points us to Jesus, albeit indirectly. By way of contrast we know that Christ is far greater than the wisdom Solomon gives us.
A better way to understand Jesus as the wisdom of God is to look at the Greek logos — “the Word” of John 1:1–18. Many first-century Jews used logos to represent divine “truth” or “wisdom.” In becoming flesh (v. 14), we see that God’s logos — His truth or wisdom — is personal, expressed most fully in Christ.