Seated

To understand the Messiah (Christ, Anointed One) of the Bible one must understand the authority that is promised to him. Let’s examine a few passages that tell of his authority and assess our own beliefs in light of the Scriptures.

Psalm 2 is a psalm of the Messiah. It begins by saying, “Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” The word translated Anointed is the Hebrew word “masiah (מָשִׁיחַ)” and is how we can tell that this is a Messianc Psalm. What does God say of the Messiah? That he has set him as king (v.6), that he will put all the nations under his control (v.8), and that all rulers of the earth are to be subject to him (vv.10-11).

Psalm 110 is another Psalm about the Messiah. Jesus himself pointed this out in Luke 20:41-44 (see also our Luke Study). Jesus teaches us that David himself refers to the Messiah as Lord and asks the question: “David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?” Consider the words written: “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.’ The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies(v.1-2)!” The Messiah is to rule over the entire world. In fact, God says to him that he is to sit at his right hand while God subdues his enemies for him. He rules even in the midst of his enemies; who are all who deny him and rebel against his rule.

And how is it that the Messiah can have such power? How is it that he rules over the earth, seated in Heaven, with all power and authority? Psalm 45 helps us to understand this. It reads, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions (v.6-7).” It is because the Messiah is addressed as God himself. The Messiah is addressed as God and his kingdom is declared to last forever. This is why God anoints (same Hebrew root as previously mentioned) God. It is the Father who anoints the Son (for further understanding read On the Trinity). This is why the Messiah has such power and authority to rule; it is because he himself is God.

The New Testament writers understood this clearly and it is evidenced in what they have reported and written. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus declared that all authority in heaven and earth have been given to him. He then commanded his disciples to go to the nations to make them obedient disciples; a mission the church still participates in to this day. The Apostle Paul made reference to the fact that Jesus is ruling now as the Father is subjecting all things under his feet (1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:22). The author of Hebrews wrote, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet (10:12-13).”

The Apostle Peter also proclaimed in Acts 2:33–36:

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

The consistent witness and testimony of the Scriptures is clear: Christ is seated in Heaven and reigns over all things. There are none who are independent of his Kingdom. There are only those who rebel as his enemies (whom he still rules in the midst of) and those who bend the knee and declare Jesus Christ is Lord.

Was it just for Jesus to die for sins? (Part 2)

This is the second part of a series where we are exploring a question asked to us during one of our Lunch & Learns. A Muslim neighbor who attended asked how it was just for Jesus to die for sins. In the first post we looked at some of the deeper meanings of the justice of God and his gracious giving of propitiation. Now we will consider that God’s salvation has come by his own eternal decree, as evidenced by the prophets.

Prophets
When Jesus told his disciples that he had to die he wasn’t making up some new thing about himself. This might get lost a bit when we read the (not original to the text) headings in our bibles. Matthew 16, starting in verse 21, has a heading that reads “Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection”. That’s true, he does foretell both his death and resurrection. But let’s examine this text a little bit closer.


“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Notice something here, and it’s very important, Jesus wasn’t saying this to his disciples, he was showing his disciples that he had to die. What was he showing them from? He was showing them from all the prophets before him, who were prophesying about him, in what we call in our Bibles the Old Testament. Although this will not be an exhaustive list, let’s look at some of these prophecies.


He Must Go To Jerusalem
The prophet Zechariah said, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).” Later God said through Zechariah, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn…On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 12:1-13:1).”


He Must Suffer Many Things from the Elders and Chief Priests and Scribes
The prophet David said, “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’ (Psalm 22:7-8)”
The prophet Isaiah said, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:3).”


He Must Be Killed
The prophet Isaiah said, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth (Isaiah 53:5-9).”


On The Third Day He Would Be Raised
The prophet David said, “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. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:8-11).” The apostle Peter expounded on this by saying, “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up and of that we all are witnesses (Acts 2:29-32).”


So, we see here that by dying for sins Jesus was fulfilling a purpose that was established and prophesied about long before his incarnation (coming to earth as a human). In fact, the Bible tells us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4). To kick against this is to kick against the plan of God and the words of the prophets.


But, as stated in our previous post, it also speaks to a heart condition. As soon as Jesus began showing his disciples that what was to happen to him had been spoken about by the prophets, something happened which relates well to the heart of this question.
 “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man (Matthew 16:22-23).’”


See, as soon as we begin to think that Jesus dying is unjust or shouldn’t be, we fall into the same error as Peter did in this particular encounter. Yet, Jesus’s rebuke was severe. He said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” It is Satan who does not want Jesus dead. It is Satan who does not want God’s salvation to come. When we throw our lot in with this line of thinking the Bible is clear about where we stand, and it is in opposition to God. Because, as Jesus says, “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Our next post will be the third of three posts where we will consider what Jesus’s attitude was about his own death.