GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Perhaps more than any other Old Testament Scripture, the New Testament writers quote Psalm 110. Jesus Himself quotes it in Matthew 22:44, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” He quotes it to oblige the Pharisees to reexamine their ideas regarding who they think the Messiah ought to be and what he ought to do. They were hoping for a human king to deliver them from being under the reign of Rome. With the question Jesus posed to them, it became clear that such perspectives could not stand in light of a careful consideration of Psalm 110.
“If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” (Matthew 22:45)
In Psalm 110 the Lord in heaven is speaking to David’s son—a descendant of David. Why would David call one of his descendants “my Lord”? That question left them all stunned. Speechless. No one answered, and they asked Him no more questions.
No father, much less a king, addresses one of his sons, grandchildren, or great grandchildren as “my Lord.” Yet David, the most highly regarded king in Jewish history, does that very thing.
And to this descendant of David the Lord in heaven goes on to say, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Whoever sits at the king’s right hand is considered coequal with the king; but here we’re not just talking about a king, are we? God is the One speaking, and He tells David’s descendant to sit at His right hand. That is stunning! In the next verse God declares that this son of David will reign with His mighty scepter. David’s descendant is going to be reigning side-by-side with the Lord in heaven! Spectacular!
All along. the religious leaders had taught that the Messiah was going to be a human king with a political agenda. Jesus, in effect, asks them, “How can that be?” In this Psalm David calls his son “my Lord,” and God invites David’s son to sit at His right hand and wield the scepter along with Him.
A careful reading of Psalm 110 establishes that the Messiah must be Someone Who is more than merely a human being; yes, Someone Who is not the same as God the Father and yet equal to God the Father. Jesus Himself is the One of Whom David wrote.
Many had projected onto Psalm 110 what they wanted it to mean.
They wanted a human king.
They wanted him to gain their freedom by a political and, if necessary, a military victory; and
They wanted an earthly kingdom.
None of that was what Jesus was about. Sadly, many still project onto Jesus their ideas about the kind of Lord He ought to be and what kind of a role they want Him to have in their lives.
Jesus did not come to be the kind of Messiah that people wanted, He came to be the Messiah that people needed.
Jesus came to be David’s Lord and to be our Lord, and His objectives are far above and beyond any political agenda and anyone’s personal agenda:
Jesus came to get rid of your sin, conquer the enemies of your soul, and save you from going to hell—that is His agenda!
We are liberated from feeling like we need to be in control, delivered from fearing what’s going to happen next, and we gain a perfect peace when we surrender our agendas and embrace His agenda.
Delwyn Maas is pastor of Gift of God Lutheran Church in Mapleton, North Dakota.