April 1: Psalm 110


April 1: Psalm 110

Psalm of the Messiah

Palm Sunday

Common Meter double 86.86 D             Ellacombe (Hosanna, Loud Hosanna), p. 130

Jehovah to my Lord has said, “Sit Thou at My right hand

Until I make Thy foes a stool whereon Thy feet may stand.”

Jehovah shall from Zion send the scepter of Thy power.

In battle with Thine enemies be Thou the conqueror.

A willing people in Thy day of power shall come to Thee.

Thy youth arrayed in holiness like morning dew shall be.

Jehovah swore, and from His oath He never will depart:

“Of th’order of Melchizedek a priest Thou ever art.”

The Lord at Thy right hand shall smite earth’s rulers in His wrath.

Among the nations He shall judge; the slain shall fill His path.

In many lands He’ll overthrow their kings with ruin dread;

And, marching, He’ll drink from the brook and so lift up His head.

If there was ever a perfect psalm for introducing Holy Week, it is this one, for the question of Christ’s identity was the driving question of the week that would unfold following His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

No other line of the Book of Psalms enjoys, in the New Testament, a prominence equal to the opening words of Psalm 110: “The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at My Right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.’” Jesus quoted this psalm in controversy with some of His rabbinical opponents (Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42), and the context for His citation was the decisive and great kerygmatic question of the Lord’s identity: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” In these few words of the Psalter, “The Lord said to my Lord,” 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 the 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 (Act 2:34), and became the foundation of some of the most important Christological and soteriological statements of the New Testament. In this one line of the psalm, then we profess, in summary form, those profound doctrines 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. Furthermore, it is with reference to that mysterious priesthood of Melchizedek that Psalm 110 speaks of the priesthood of Jesus:”The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” No other commentary on these words surpasses their theologically rich elaboration in Hebrews 7, which sees the priesthood of Melchizedek as a type or foreshadowing of the eternal priesthood of Jesus, speaking of our Lord’s glorification above the heavens, at God’s right hand, our permanent intercessor at the Throne, the one Mediator between God and man. (Reardon, p. 217-218)