As we approach Christmas and New Year’s, we are going to take a look at some of the Old Testament passages which speak of Christ.
There are a number of psalms which speak of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called Messianic psalms since they speak of the Messiah. The question may be asked: “How can we recognize a Messianic psalm?” The answer would be: where there is a reference to the Messiah in a psalm, and it is applied to Christ and expounded in the New Testament.
–The Messianic Psalms, by T. Ernest Wilson
Psalm 1 (NIV)
The Two Ways
1Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
Luther said that he could not live in paradise without the word of God, but he could live well enough in hell with it.
3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
The Scriptures say that God is the source of all truth. If we turn away from truth, we will end in illusion or delusion because only truth is reality. When we walk away from truth, we lose reality and are destroyed by delusion.
I was in my sixties before I ever wondered where the word true comes from. I pulled down my dictionary and found that the word true comes from an old Indo-European word for tree. I was intrigued by the idea that the word truth comes from the word for tree. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make perfect sense. Trees do not move. We can count on them to be there every morning when we wake up. Truth is the same way. We can count on it. It will not deceive us. It will not give us one face today and another tomorrow. The best news of all is that Jesus Christ is true. He is absolutely, totally reliable and faithful. And when our lives are ordered by Him, we stay in reality, and we walk in truth.
4Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
At least four times in the Book of Acts, Christianity is called the Way.
No matter where we find ourselves, or what our situation — Jesus, You are our way.
HERE is Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “The Call” sung by the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Solo treble: Oliver Lepage-Dean. The text of the piece was written by George Herbert and published in 1633:
Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.
Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes his guest.
Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.
Psalms 1 and 2 are linked together in the Hebrew Bible. They are an introduction and a preface to the Psalms as a whole. Attention has been drawn to the fact that the first psalm begins with a beatitude, and the second ends with a beatitude. Together they form an admirable introduction to the Messianic psalms. In the first we see Christ’s moral glory; in the second, His official glory. In the first, He is the happy Man, occupied with a book, a tree, and a river; in the second, He is God’s King, destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron. In the first, we have His humanity; in the second, His deity. The common theme of both is the glory of God’s beloved Son, the Messiah, who, in spite of all the anarchy and wickedness in the world, will one day occupy the throne of world dominion.
–The Messianic Psalms, by T. Ernest Wilson
God’s Promise to His Anointed
Notice four Messianic titles given in this psalm.
1Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed,
Mark 1:9-11 (NLT)
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
3“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
Through the centuries many have opposed God and His Kingdom in Jesus Christ. Each one of these opponents shall be frustrated and crushed.
A famous example of an opponent of Christianity was the Roman Emperor Diocletian (A.D. 245-313). He was such a determined enemy of Christians that he persecuted the church mercilessly, and fancied that he had defeated Christianity. He struck a medal with this inscription: “The name of Christianity being extinguished.”
Diocletian also set up two monuments on the frontier of his empire with these inscriptions:
–Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having extended the Roman Empire in the east and the west and for having extinguished the name of Christians who brought the Republic to ruin
–Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ for having extended the worship of the gods
Diocletian is dead and gone, a footnote on the pages of history. The fame and glory of Jesus Christ is spread over all the earth. The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
“It doesn’t play well in this country, in this culture, to call Jesus a King. But if you think about it, the implications of grace and forgiveness are that now, I don’t belong to myself. Paul says ‘You’re not your own, you were bought with a price.’…You now belong to someone else…In this culture, people like the idea of forgiveness but they immediately say, ‘Well, I can kind of live the way I want.’ And ‘Jesus the King’ gets across the fact that your entire life belongs to Him because of His grace, and I think that’s a hard sell in our culture, but it’s true.”
–Dr. Timothy Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City
7I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Acts 13:26-33 (New Living Translation)
“Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
“When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.
“And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus:
‘You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.’”
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
John 20:26-28 (ESV)
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
12Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.