I asked a friend from high school who happens to be an airline pilot if he'd flown the Max and what did he think of these incidents, and he gave me his thoughts:
Delta doesn't have the 737-Max. The Lion Air crash last October is troubling, based on the preliminary reports. There was a fault with the angle of attack sensor that feeds data to the airspeed indicators. One of the three airspeed sources was erroneous resulting in conflicting information. This in itself is challenging, but should not have been a serious problem. Boeing installed a new system on the 737 Max called the "Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)." The MCAS uses the horizontal stabilizer trim to force the nose down when the aircraft reaches a critical angle of attack (close to aerodynamic stall).
The problem is that Boeing added this to the Max without notifying the operators that bought it. Since it is an existing type rating, no additional pilot training is required to fly it. The Lion Air pilots were fighting that auto trim without knowing it was happening. If the MCAS is a factor with the Ethiopian accident, it will be a huge problem for Boeing.