Psalm 2: No Safe Jesus Ross Lester By Ross Lester January 9, 2017
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Singing As We Plant #2

Take time to read the entirety of Psalm 2:1-12, and then come back and read the following verses again.

“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

-Psalm 2:6-9

Reflection:

Sometimes it can feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. South Africans, in particular, have become all too accustomed to receiving and spreading bad news about what can appear to be, at times, a rapidly decaying society. The only good thing about this is that it has opened our eyes, as a people, to the futility of hope in purely political solutions to the world’s problems; but it has also made us into hard and sometimes despondent people.

In Psalm 2, David gets a glimpse into the future after looking at a fairly bleak present scenario, and sees that there is a King coming who is different from every other ruler. He will be the anointed Son of the Most High and he will rule and reign with justice and power. He will rule with an iron scepter as a true and just King forever. This is a beautiful portrait of King Jesus a long time before he materialized in human form.

Many of us need to get rid of our safe view of Jesus. The Bible doesn’t describe him that way.

The problem, though, is that most of us don’t have this picture of Jesus. The Jesus we picture is Scandinavian and manicured. He is always aloof and kind of cheery about everything, and he has a pithy, helpful, moralistic saying for every occasion – like a walking Scandinavian fortune cookie.

David’s picture of Jesus isn’t safe or comfortable. It’s the picture of the true resurrected Christ, who overcame evil in humility and gentleness but now rules and reigns over everything as a victorious warrior. He already has his iron scepter (Rev 19:15), and one day he is returning to call all who are his to himself forever. The world isn’t going to hell in a handbasket. It will have just leadership one day. We can’t wait for that day.

I love how CS Lewis chose to depict Jesus in his Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan is a massive and powerful lion who is loving and caring towards the children, but who strikes deep fear into the hearts of his enemies. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy asks Mr Beaver about this mythical Aslan creature she has heard about. She is pretty scared to meet him, and so asks if he is safe:

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver. “…Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Many of us need to get rid of our safe view of Jesus. The Bible doesn’t describe him that way.

Reject him outright as deplorable, or receive him totally as Lord and king, but please don’t try accommodate him or, heaven forbid, domesticate him. There is no such thing as a tame lion.

I think this picture of Jesus brings hope to those of us who are suffering. Jesus can put it right one day, and he will. It also raises some questions for all of us who claim to follow Jesus. If he is really Lord of all, then what are the areas where we are yet to yield lordship to him? We bow the knee today or on that day when he returns, but we will bow. Do it now.

Singing as we plant

Let’s be Psalm 2 church-planters – presenting this Jesus to people who don’t yet know him.

This vision of Jesus is essential to us as we plant. It is because God has installed his King in Zion, and because he is the Lord of all nations that we dare to go into all the world and proclaim him. It is because he will build his church, because he has many people in each town and city, that we dare to preach the gospel. It is because he is the unabridged Master of all that we live out our calling as planters – in fear and trembling, striving to obey him, and in confident rest, because our Lord and Judge is also our Saviour who sustains us.

This vision of Jesus is essential to the gospel we proclaim – because only this Jesus saves, only this Jesus is Lord, only this Jesus satisfies, only this Jesus is worth worshipping. Let’s be Psalm 2 church-planters – presenting this Jesus to people who don’t yet know him, so that, through our obedience, he gets the glory and they get the joy.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times when we take our eyes off of you and allow ourselves to become intimidated and fearful due to the state of our world. Father, give us an accurate picture of your Son, Jesus. Help us to see him as he truly is, and let that picture give us courage to live as people of justice and as citizens of your Kingdom of earth. Help us to plant churches that are for, and by, and through, and to the glory of this Jesus. It is in Jesus’ mighty name that we pray.

Ross Lester Ross Lester

Ross lives in Blairgowrie, Johannesburg with his wife Sue and young son, Daniel. He is lead pastor and elder at Bryanston Bible Church and his current responsibilities include overseeing the teaching and preaching at BBC, and developing future leaders so that BBC can fulfil its call to be a multiplying church.