One of the most vital doctrines for us to embrace as Christians is the identity of Jesus as the Son of God. Being the son of God we must identify him as God; and identifying him as God we must recognize not only his position but his power and the certainty of his judgment on this earth.
This morning I'd like you to turn with me to Psalm 110. This psalm is remarkable because it sets forth the deity of Christ. “You could not in any way consider this psalm and still deny His deity.”1 This psalm is referred to many times in the New Testament (Acts 2:34, 35; Heb. 1:13; Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:21; 10:12–13). In fact it's first verse takes the record for the Old Testament passage most quoted in the New Testament.2
Please stand and read with me from Psalm 110.
The psalm itself is a messianic Psalm pointing to Jesus as the King of Glory, it contains three themes that I want to address this morning. (1) Jesus is God. (2) God the Father with Christ will judge Christ's enemies (3) God's people serve Him willingly.
The Deity of Christ
Consider first the deity of Christ. It is a vital doctrine. Understanding and recognizing that Jesus Christ is in fact the Lord is put forward by Paul as central to salvation. “...if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved...” (Rom.10:9)
When the Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians gathered together in the final part of Jesus' life on earth they attempted repeatedly to trap Him in their questions. Finally Jesus turned on them and asked them a question about the Messiah. In Matthew 22:41 he asks, “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?"
The Pharisees volunteered that he was the Son of David. That's the same answer any Jew could have given. But Jesus wants them to know more, he points them to this Psalm and asks the next question, "then how does David in the Spirit call him 'Lord,' saying, "The Lord Said to My Lord, Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet'? If David then calls him Lord, how is He his son?"
Jesus The son of David, is in fact also the Son of God.
As Jesus rightly points out, David calls the messiah (his descendant) "Lord". The LORD said to my Lord" The first word which most of you have in ALL CAPS in your translations. If you were to look back in your translator's notes at the beginning of your Bibles you would discover that the ALL CAPS means YHWH. The LORD (all caps) is God the Father, and the Messiah is called "Lord" note that most of your Bible's only capitalize the first letter. That's a different word, "Adonai" it means master, it is used here as another name for God.
So David is doing the unthinkable here saying, "GOD says to my God..." He is identifying the Messiah whom we now know as Jesus as none other than God. All the testimony of David, crying out to His God - it is Jesus before he took on flesh that he is crying out to. "THE GOD, says to my God...."
The first major teaching here is that the Messiah, Jesus is God. And the second revolves around The Work of the Father For the Glory of the Son in that God the Father will Judge Christ's Enemies.
Look then at what the Father says. He says, "Sit here at my right hand...” Christ is sitting at the Father's right Hand by the Father's command! This single theme is repeated throughout the Bible. (Matt 26:64; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2) (Screen)
The right hand of power as Jesus called it3 is the place of honor and authority granted to Him by God the Father. Though Jesus is equal to the Father,there is an authority structure in the God-head. The Father is over all, Jesus serves the Father and the Spirit of God is sent by the Son and the Father. (1 Cor 11:3) Therefore it is the command of God the Father to sit that is in view here.
But look at the reason for the command. He says, Sit here until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." The word picture is clear I think. If you're going to have an enemy in the position of footstool, it seems obvious that he has been entirely defeated and all of the fight has gone out of him.
But pay attention to who is doing the judging here. God the Father is going to arise and subdue the enemies of Jesus Christ. In fact the rest of the Psalm is all about the work of the Father for the Glory of the Son.
God will Judge Christ's Enemies
His first work for the Glory of the Son is subduing His enemies. Verse two tells how he is going to do that. Stretching forth your scepter is a symbolic act that is explained in the saying, "Rule in the midst of your enemies."
Now He's not telling Jesus that he's going to be surrounded by His enemies - that would be a bad thing. He's telling Jesus by divine command that Jesus indeed will RULE, even in the midst of his enemies. That's a big difference.
In the first instance there would be a threat of being overwhelmed, but in the second instance there is no chance of being overwhelmed but rather a promise that Jesus will rule with such overwhelming force that the enemies of Christ will have to fall before Him.
Going on to the fourth verse we encounter a new identity for Jesus as well. He is not only Lord, and victor, he is also a priest. (Read Psa 110:4)
Melchizedek is a priest who appears out of nowhere in the book of Genesis (14:17-20). Abraham goes to battle and comes back victorious. And suddenly this priest named Melchizedek shows up and Abraham offers Him a tithe of the spoils of war. Hebrews 7:1-3 explains what this means so let's just read it.:
"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually." (Heb 7:1-3 NAU)
Again in Psa 110:5-6 we return to Jesus. Now however, it is not only the Father bringing judgment upon the nations but it is also Jesus himself will shatter kings in the day of his wrath.
There's a lot of talk about the Love of Jesus and I never want to take away from the love of Christ. It is by his unfailing love that you and I have come to his Grace, but the love of Christ is joined with the wrath of Christ.
Revelation (14:20) depicts the judgment of Christ being so severe that blood will rise as high as the horses bridle for a distance of two hundred miles!
The dominion of Christ will come at enormous cost to all of those who have rejected the Lord and hated Him.
Amidst all of the judgment verse three is injected to tell of the relationship between Jesus the God and judge of the earth and those who love Him. (Read Psa 110:3)
God's People Serve Him Willingly
While most of the Psalm depicts God the Father crushing the enemies of the Lord Jesus, verse three stands out like an interlude of peace. Because the Lord's judgment will not be towards His own.
"Your people" does not merely mean the Jews at this point, from our perspective of living in the New Testament promises of Christ we recognize that we who have come to Him are His people. And this is the promise when Jesus establishes his kingdom in the earth: His people will serve Him by their own free will.
Now Just look at this last word picture here, "Your youth are to you as the dew." What's the one thing you may notice about the new in the morning? It's everywhere! Nothing is unaffected by it. If you go outside after a heavy dew, every single place is soaking wet. Therefore the idea is that the multitude of the faithful will indeed be a multitude.
There is good news in this, for while we labor in this world for the salvation of many sometimes we wonder if our labors are adding up to anything. I believe that they are. Chief among our particular labors has been the support of missionaries here at Fame Evangelical Church; let us continue the onslaught - sending more and more to the field in final hope of winning the battle for souls and simultaneously sending our treasure ahead to heaven!
Finally the Psalm closes with Jesus (Read Psa 110:7)
The idea of drinking from the brook pictures Jesus now at peace. Judgment has come and Gone. The enemies of Christ are now his footstool. The beloved of Christ are now serving him willingly; and Jesus the warrior priest can now take a refreshing drink from the brook.
Psalm 110 not only defines Jesus as the Lord but also draws a hard and decisive line between those who love Him and those who do not.
You are either a servant of Jesus Christ or His enemy. The testimony of this Psalm is perfectly clear, the enemies of Christ will suffer not only at the Hand of Christ but God the Father Himself will set his hand against you!
Therefore let us be like the men in verse 3 who volunteer freely... Let us be His people. Let us be undeniably His people.
1McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (2:834). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2Allen, L. C. (2002). Vol. 21: Word Biblical Commentary : Psalms 101-150 (Revised). Word Biblical Commentary (118). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
3Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69