Messianic Psalms - Psalm 110: The Priestly King Enthroned Forever!
Near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, not long before his arrest and crucifixion, there was a time when the leaders of Israel were trying to trap him with trick questions, and he turned the tables on them by asking a question beyond their ability to answer. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” Jesus queried.
They thought the answer was easy. “The son of David,” they replied. Jesus continued, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
“If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” (Matt. 22:41-45). Thus, an apparently easy question suddenly became a profound and searching question. For if David called his natural physical descendant (the Messiah) his Lord, it could only be because the One to come would somehow be greater than David was, and the only way that could happen is if the Messiah were more than a mere man. He would have to be a divine Messiah, that is, God.
The answer to the question, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” must therefore be, “He is both the son of David and the Son of God.” In other words, it must be the exact teaching Paul develops in the early verses of Romans, where he writes that Jesus “as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and … through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4).
In all of the Psalter, is there a line more precious and beloved than “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand…’”? No other line of the Book of Psalms enjoys, in the New Testament, a prominence equal to these opening words of Psalm 110. In the Synoptic Gospels, for example, Christians learned that Jesus is not only David’s descendant but also his preexisting Lord. He is the Son, not only of David, but of God.
Having mysteriously addressed the identity of Christ, this same line of our psalm goes on to speak of His triumph and enthronement, with the solemn proclamation: “Sit at My right hand.” These majestic words were quoted in the first sermon of the Christian church, that of Pentecost morning at the third hour (cf. Acts 2:34) and became the foundation of some of the most important Christological and redemptive statements of the New Testament (cf. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12: 12:2).
In this one line of the psalm, then, we profess, in summary form, those profound truths at the foundation of our whole relationship to God – the eternal identity of Jesus Christ, His triumph over sin and death, and His glorification at God’s right hand: “God…. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son… who… when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).
Psalm 110 became one of the most important psalms to the early church and to the New Testament writers because, in the words of numerous scholars:
“It is the greatest of the messianic psalms. It alone is about the Messiah and his work exclusively, without any primary reference to an earthly king. Psalm 110 is about a divine King who has been installed at the right hand of God in heaven and who is presently engaged in extending His spiritual rule throughout the whole earth.”
As we consider the enthronement of Christ in Psalm 110 this week, how should we respond? How have you responded? How are you responding? Beloved, I trust that you will make every effort to join us in worship this week of the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is the most important thing you can do all week.
For His Glory,