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I wonder if Jesus was thinking about the words of this psalm as the Pharisees and Sadducees, normally opposed to each other, joined forces to take their stand against him? They each took turns asking questions they thought would serve as a trap and get Jesus to say something, anything they could use to discredit him. Why do the peoples grumble in vain? They take their stand against the Lord and against his Anointed One, his Messiah.
The Psalmist tells us the reason. Let us tear off their chains and throw off their ropes from us. They were feeling that God had burdened them. He had too many rules. They wanted to be their own god. They wanted to do their own thing without guilt and they saw God as the reason for their guilt. And Jesus, he was a threat to their power because the majority of the people seemed to be following him. They were worried that the Romans would smell revolt and hold them responsible and they would lose their power, their position, and everything they loved and worked for. They were doing all they could to take a stand against and to get rid of Jesus, God’s anointed one.
We hear the same attitude today. People say that God has burdened them. He has too many rules. People just want to be free to do their own thing and not have to feel any guilty. They want to be their own god. That’s why they fight so hard for evolution, because if evolution is true and God is not the creator, then he doesn’t get to make the rules. The commandments are just rules made up by people who want to control others. It’s the basis of political correctness because, they say, no one should be made to feel bad or guilty about anything. To say that Jesus is the only way to salvation, to them, is the height of lovelessness and judgmentalism. How can anyone know that, they say? Our sinful nature eagerly agrees with them and says, Let us tear off their chains and throw off their ropes from us.
When the Pharisees and the Sadducees tried to trap him, as the Psalmist foretold, He smashed them with an iron rod. He broke them to pieces like pottery. That iron rod was really a sword, the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. He asked them a question that took them to the word of God. What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? Of course, they answered, the son of David. God had promised that the Messiah would come from David’s line. But, Jesus asked, “Then how can David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? “So if David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” SMASH! No one was able to answer him a word, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Many probably couldn’t answer because they couldn’t figure out the answer. Others, like the Jewish leaders, probably knew the answer but refused to give it because it would mean admitting that the Messiah would not just be the son of David, but also the Son of God.
You and I, by God’s grace, get it. The Messiah, Jesus, is the son of David. He was born of the virgin Mary who was a descendant of David. But, as the Angel explained to Mary, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit so that the holy one to be born of her would also be called the Son of God. God says through the Psalmist of the Messiah, his Anointed One, You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.
By God’s grace, we have been brought to see that Jesus had to be both the Son of God and the Son of David in order to be our savoir. He had to be the son of David to be under the law and to be subject to death. He had to be the Son of God to be able to keep the law without sin and to have his death count as the payment in full for every sin. The iron rod of God’s law has broken our stubborn heart to pieces and led us to see that we are in desperate need of a savoir. The Holy Spirit has convinced us that, as impossible as it seems, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He is both the son of God and the son of David, just who he needed to be in order to carry out God’s plan of salvation for us.
By God’s grace, because we have been led to see what Jesus has done for us, we no longer want to tear off his chains. In fact, by God’s grace, we see what Moses told Israel. The commands and decrees of God are not burdensome. They are given for our good. They were given by the one who made the highest heavens and everything that exists. He knows how things work best because he made the rules that govern everything. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Not that we earn a reward by keeping them because in order for that to be true we would have to keep them perfectly. But, just as it is with our earthly fathers, if you gladly do what they ask, things usually go better for you than if you don’t.
The Pharisees, the Sadducees, Herod, Pilate, and the High Priests all conspired against God’s Anointed One. Like the subjects in Jesus parable who did everything they could to make sure their master was not made king, they did everything they could to keep Jesus from being their king, including nailing him to the cross. They even begged Pilate to remove the sign from the cross that said, King of the Jews. They didn’t want Jesus to be their king!
But the one seated in heaven laughs. These mere mortals who discover something I have done and think they are so smart; who know about the orbits of the planets but can’t do a thing to change them, who are they to think they can oppose me and stop my Anointed One from carrying out his work? They are foolish and powerless before me. The power of all the rulers of all the nations are like a drop in the bucket. He speaks to them in his anger and in his wrath he terrifies them. “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy mountain.” Jesus was made king in spite of their efforts to stop him. The Father raised him from the dead and exalted him to the highest place. He has placed all things, all the nations, all the rulers, all the ends of the earth, everything seen and unseen, under his feet.
For those who opposed him, that’s the worst news possible. It terrifies them because they know what they deserve for taking their stand against him. They deserve to be destroyed, to be cast out of his presence for all eternity. Because of our sins we deserve to be destroyed and cast out of his kingdom forever. But he is not vengeful like us. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. So now, you kings, (you who opposed me and my anointed one) do what is wise. Accept discipline. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Confess your sins. Admit that you were wrong, that God is the Lord of lords, wiser and more powerful than you are. Rejoice with trembling as you realize what you deserve from him, but see what you receive instead; life instead of death, heaven instead of hell! Kiss the Son. Show Jesus how grateful you are for all he has done for you in spite of what you did to him. Make him the object of your greatest affection. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And then, as you see that God’s Anointed One wants all to be saved and died to pay for the sins of all people, love your neighbor as yourself.
Don’t put him off. Don’t take Jesus for granted. His wrath can flare up in a moment. He is coming again in judgment and his coming will be sudden and unexpected. When he comes the day of grace will end. Those who take refuge in him, who rejoice each day with trembling as they recognize how gracious God is to them in Jesus; who run to him for forgiveness, protection, and every good thing; they have nothing to fear. They will be welcomed into his eternal kingdom to live in peace and joy for ever and ever. But those who continue to take their stand against him; who see his commands as chains and his decrees as ropes; who don’t want him to rule over them; they will get their wish. They will be banned from his kingdom of light forever. They will be ruled by the Prince of Darkness and live in outer darkness where there is only guilt and misery and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus still asks you today, What do you think about the Christ, God’s Anointed one? Whose son is he?
May you always be enabled to answer. He is the Son of David and the Son of God. He left heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary so that he could be under the law and keep it in my place, and so that he could offer himself on the cross to pay for my sins and the sins of the whole world. He is my Savior; I take refuge in him.