Psalm 110| The Character of Christ

Posted on June 22, 2010 by


This psalm is probably the most messianic in its meaning, considering Jesus quoted it as referring to Himself.  Being a messianic psalm clearly colors how we interpret its meaning and the intent of the Holy Spirit in inspiring it.

It is prophetic, descriptive and confessional.

The prophetic aspect is fairly straight forward, with statements like;

3 “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power,”

5 “The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.”

The descriptive aspect of this psalm is also pretty straight forward;

4 “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

1 “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand,’”

The confessional aspect is more holistic in that this psalm is so specific about who Jesus is and what he will do that it can instruct us to hold a right view of Christ.

One of the first things that we can see is that Jesus is God. Verse one quotes the Father “Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”  That Christ is “at [the] right hand” of the Father shows that He shares in the glory and joy of the Father making him equal with God in the same way that His being the “Son of God” makes Him equal with God.

Jesus is also king over all. The language of kingship is used in verse 2 (scepter and rule).  Also Christ is referred to as being “[of] the order of Melchizedek.”  In Hebrews 7 we get a great description of Melchizedek. He is referred to first as “king of Salem” (king of peace).  We also see later in the psalm that He will “shatter kings on the day of His wrath.” This fact that He subjects kings to Himself shows his preeminence as a ruler.

Jesus is shown as priest in verse 4, “you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” So the fact that Jesus is a priest is pretty clear but the clarifying state about being of the order of Melchizedek carries with it certain connotations that help us understand the depth of His priestly office. Referring again to Hebrews 7; he has no beginning or end, and he received a tenth of Abraham’s spoils.

That Melchizedek had “neither beginning of days nor end of life” correlates to Christ’s eternal nature and his unity with God. That Melchizedek received a tenth of Abraham’s spoils shows Abraham’s deference to Melchizedek as his superior and worthy of honor, whereas Christ is Lord of all and we are encouraged to “present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice… [our] spiritual act of worship.”

“He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.” Christ will judge the nations and those that rule them. He is the one that will condemn them by their refusal to acknowledge Him as king and submit to His rule. He will also execute His judgment, which is in opposition to the popular view of Jesus as passive and overly meek and feminine.

The psalm also shows Jesus as a man. “He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.” Showing that Jesus drinks water as He is on His way to execute His divine judgment emphasizes that Christ is both God and man. His manhood is complete to the extent that he needs to drink water to sustain Himself.

So we have in this one psalm a very clear and cohesive presentation of who Jesus is. He is one with God, He is our King, He is our high priest, He will judge the earth, and He is a man and understands what it is to be so.

How great is God that He gave us this picture of Christ by the Holy Spirit through David.

Let us worship Jesus for who He is and not who we want to make Him.

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Posted in: Theology