Posted in Salvation
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:16) -AND- “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand….’” (Psalm 110:1)
EXCERPT FROM EUGENE PETERSON’S AS KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE: “The king represented God’s power to rule, to shape and guide life. The priest represented God’s power to renew, to forgive and invigorate life. … The king was in charge of horizontal, earthly relationships; the priest was in charge of vertical, heavenly relationships. … In Messiah the two acts are parts of a whole: God rules and God saves.” (p. ____)
I love the Psalms. That does not mean that I always understand what they mean or the theological significance of the words, but they always seem to offer just the right words of comfort, encouragement, worship or wonderment at just the right time. It is nice to know that a “man after God’s own heart” such as David experienced the same emotional ups and downs that I do in my faith journey with God.
I was asked to write a devotional about Psalm 110. Not exactly a Psalm that had caught my attention in the past. Upon first reading, it definitely falls in the category of one of the Psalms that “I do not understand.” So, I turned to Bible guidebooks, and they all said this is a Psalm about the Messiah, and, to my surprise, I learned that Psalm 110 is one of the Old Testament passages most often quoted in the New Testament. Armed with this insight and a closer reading of Psalm 110, I saw the Messiah connection more clearly.
As we all know, Jesus was not the sort of Messiah that the first century Jews expected. The salvation that Jesus brought was not freedom from Roman rule but freedom from sin. In As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Eugene Peterson points out that the Messiah that the Jews expected was a king or a priest. In Jesus, we got both – but on his terms. As Peterson puts it: “The king represented God’s power to rule, to shape and guide life. The priest represented God’s power to renew, to forgive, and to invigorate life. … The king was in charge of horizontal, earthly relationships; the priest was in charge of vertical, heavenly relationships. … In Messiah the two acts are parts of a whole: God rules and God saves.”
Aren’t Peterson’s words a great explanation of what we mean – or should mean – each week when we profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior? We gratefully accept the Messiah as Savior. We all want and need God’s salvation that he gives through grace, but accepting/professing Jesus as Lord, as the God who rules, is a deeper commitment. It suggests obedience and relinquishing control of our lives. Do I truly allow Jesus to rule my life? That can be challenging when it is contrary to what I want to do.
Nonetheless, this Psalm and Peterson’s insight are a stark reminder of the meaning of Jesus as Messiah, as our Lord and Savior, and it reminds me of the need to double-down on my commitment to Jesus as Lord. What about you?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Thank you for being the God who saves. May your Holy Spirit empower us to allow you to be the God who rules, shapes, and guides our lives. For it is in Christ’s holy name that we offer this prayer. Amen.
Submitted by John A. Hill