Sunday, January 10, 2016

Two sides of Christ

Royal purple fabric
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 2:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are those who put their trust in Him." Psalm 2:12

Who is the fearful leader pictured in Psalm 2, against whom the nations rage and plot, who evoke His derisive laughter at their puny efforts at rebellion? Who is the "Son" who requests and gets these nations for an inheritance, who can "break them" and "dash them to pieces"?

The writer of my Bibles notes says: "This is a messianic psalm in which nations and kings are warned to serve God because ultimate judgment has been entrusted to Christ" - Dick Iverson, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 687.

Indeed, bits of this psalm are quoted or seen to come true in relation to Jesus numerous times in the New Testament.
  • In Acts, Peter and John, after being released from jail for healing the lame man, quoted Psalm 2:1,2 ("Why do the nations rage; / And the people plot a vain thing?…") in their prayer for boldness (Acts 4:25,26).
  • We see Psalm 2:2 ("And the rulers take counsel together, / Against the LORD and against His Anointed…") coming true in how the Jewish rulers plotted and schemed to kill Jesus in Mark 3:6 and 11:18.
  • Psalm 2:3 (" ' Let us break Their bonds in pieces / And cast away Their cords from us' ") could well be the words spoken by the rebellious subjects in Jesus' parable depicting the faithful stewards and the Kingdom of Heaven in Luke 19:14.
  • The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 2:7 ("You are My Son, / Today I have begotten You") when referring to Jesus in Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5.
  • And Psalm 2:12 ("Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, / And you perish in the way, / When His wrath is kindled but a little") is pictured in vivid detail in Revelation 6:15-17:
 "And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?' ”

And so I think we can say with confidence, the judging ruler in Psalm 2 is none other than Jesus Christ, who we usually picture as loving, gentle, meek, gracious, forgiving… Even Psalm 2 references this softer side of Him when it speaks of Him as someone trustworthy who bestows blessings: "Blessed are those who put their trust in Him."

We are wise to keep in mind both sides of Jesus—the judging Jesus and the trustworthy, blessing Jesus. For they both have a bearing on how we live our lives in that:
  • we don't take sin lightly.
  • we live willingly under His authority now—trusting that He knows what's best for us and that the things He sends into our lives are ultimately blessings (even though they may not always appear that way on the surface).
  • we include both the judging and merciful sides of Him as we share the gospel.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, this glimpse of You as judge of nations is sobering. Help me to factor this judging side of You into my day-to-day living. Amen. 

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Amen!His love is great and so is his judgement. We seem to live in a time where the latter is not preached and taught like it used to be.


  2. Thanks, Janet, for coming by! I agree -- the judgment of God is not a popular topic these days. But without it, the gospel doesn't really make sense. Achieving a balance while living in the tension of things we don't completely understand continues to be a challenge, doesn't it?


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