The saving work of Christ
I am going to tell the redemptive story of Jesus from the Psalms. Might his Emmaus Road sermon have sounded something like this?
While Jesus was born a human around 6 BC, that was not his beginning. In fact, he had no beginning for he was in eternity past the Son of God. “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’” (Psalm 2:7) Eternally begotten. Not born. No beginning. Has always been. Eternally the Son of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
Not just eternal Sonship but eternal reign. As Hebrews 1 quotes Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness.”
Not just a king but also a priest. Not a Levitical Priest but a priest forever by another order, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’” (Psalm 110:4) Melchizedek was a priest-king to whom Abraham himself tithed. He was a foreshadowing of an eternal priest, king, and mediator who would come. Jesus is like Melchizedek, only greater.
Jesus was born of a virgin and lived quietly for 30 years. He began a public ministry of teaching and miracles. He taught in parables. “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old.” (Psalm 78:2)
He presented himself to Israel as King in his triumphal entry riding down the Mount of Olives on a donkey. Psalms were sung over him as he came to them on a donkey. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
In spite of his incredible popularity, enemies plotted against him including a member of his own inner circle. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.” (Psalm 2:2)
And one of his disciples, Judas, conspired against him, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9) The conspiracy was executed at night. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was framed and with political maneuvers even more treacherous than we see today, sentenced to death on a cross. By 9:00am on a day we call Good Friday, Jesus was crucified with nails attaching him to a Roman cross. “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet.” (Psalm 22:16)
The Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothes as he hung over them. “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” (Psalm 22:18)
There on the cross Jesus faced terrible pain and anguish. Psalm 22 describes it as, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast.” (Psalm 22:14)
As God the Father placed upon Jesus’ humanity the sins of humanity, the Father rejected Jesus as sin and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for sin. This rejection of Jesus felt to Jesus like abandonment. He cries out straight from the Psalms, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). And then in the moment before he died he cried out, “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” (Psalm 31:5) His last words were a psalm.
His enemies, including Satan, gloated over his death. His followers buried him. Most if not all thought that was the end. But the Psalms and God the Father knew a deeper secret—a prophecy given in the Psalms centuries before regarding the messiah.
“I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.” (Psalm 16:8–10)
This psalm was a promise to Jesus that his body would not decay like all humanity. How? Resurrection! On the third day, God the Father raised Jesus back to life and granted to him a kingdom and a rule and a reign as King of the Kingdom of God. “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)
In the very first sermon of the church, the Apostle Peter quoted Psalm 110 and said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)
3,000 people on Pentecost responded in trust in Jesus. They heard the messianic melody. Peter preached a messianic psalm and the Holy Spirit launched the church. We live today in that era of gospel proclamation of Christ as King, Savior, Priest, Son, Lord, King, Mediator and Messiah.
What should we do? What do the Psalms call us to? The same as that first Pentecost day. Believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Bend the knee to Jesus’ Kingship in your life. His reign in our hearts creates powerful countercultural character and desires and directions. Essentially, incredible loyalty and obedience and love to Jesus.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
Our response is worship and love and praise and thanksgiving. By God’s grace, we have heard and responded in faith to the messianic melody.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here