The Majesty of the Son of God. Psalm 2. First Advent Midweek Sermon 2014
St. Peter Lutheran Church
December 3, 2014
“The Majesty of the Son of God”
Reworked from G. Stoeckhardt “Seventh Sermon,” Adventpredigten.
In the Name of Jesus.
King David received a promise from God that one of his offspring would reign on his throne forever.
This was the same offspring that was promised to the woman in the garden: “I will put enmity between you and the serpent, and between your offspring and his offspring. He will bruise his head, and he will bruise his heel.”
It was the same offspring that was promised to Abraham: “Through your offspring all the families of the nations will be blessed.”
This offspring that God had been promising to His people since the fall He now promised to David. In 2 Samuel 7 He says: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…I will be to him a father, and he will be to me a son…and your throne shall be established forever.” (7: 12, 14, 16)
David believed God’s promise and bowed down before this coming king. Then David began to preach the good news of this coming king to the people. The Holy Spirit came upon David and made him a prophet, and in the psalms He preaches in more detail about the Messiah, the coming Son of David and king.
That is what we will be hearing in the psalms for this Advent: the Holy Spirit preaching through David about David’s Son, the Christ. Today in the 2nd Psalm the Holy Spirit gives us a very clear picture of the person of Christ and His kingdom. He tells us
About the majesty of the Son of God:
Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is truly the Son of God and the king of Israel.
He will judge the nations with righteousness.
Therefore all must honor the Son as they honor the Father.
“I will tell of the decree: the Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” Verse 7
David’s offspring, which the prophet Nathan told him about, would be more than a great king. That’s what the Holy Spirit revealed to David in this psalm. He is first of all the eternal Son of God.
“I will tell of the decree: the Lord said to me,’You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’” Here through David the Holy Spirit is parting the deep darkness of eternity and giving us a glimpse of the Father’s dealings with the Son before the world and time began. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father. He is His true and only begotten Son.
In Scripture sometimes angels and people are called children of God. But the Son alone is begotten of the substance of the Father. He is one substance with Him.
At the Baptism of Jesus the Father’s voice echoed from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” He bore witness to Jesus on earth in His baptism.
But here in this Psalm the Son reveals the witness that the Father bore about Him in eternity, before the world was formed. I will tell of the decree; the Lord said to me, You are my Son, today I have begotten You.
The Epistle to the Hebrews asks us in the first chapter: about which of the angels did God ever say that? There is no one equal to the Son in Majesty. He reigns with the Father from eternity.
Before the world was created, this high exalted king was given the ends of the earth as a present by God the Father. All nations, all the ends of the earth would serve Him. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession (verse 8). All the ends of the earth would be the possession of the Son of God, all of the world, all of humanity—all of fallen humanity, every single human being born of Adam’s line was promised by the Father to the Son in eternity.
But the psalm does not just picture the Son of God reigning in heaven. It pictures Him on earth, in the midst of men, reigning from Mount Zion. As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill. Verse 6
Mount Zion is the hill on which Jerusalem is built. It was the place of the temple of God, but also the place where David’s throne was situated. This king, the Son of God, is also the Son of David, reigning on His throne.
This prophecy has been fulfilled. God gave all peoples to His Son in eternity. And from them God took a specific nation—the people of Israel—as His inheritance. In the fullness of time God sent His Son to be born of a woman from that nation—Mary, a daughter of Israel and a daughter of David. His Son came to His own inheritance, but His own did not receive Him. The rulers of the people of Israel not only rejected Him but put Him to death on a cross. Still, by His blood Jesus purchased not only the people of Israel but all the nations on earth to be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. And in His resurrection Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God and the Savior of the World.
In His ascension, Jesus was exalted to reign at the right hand of God the Father. That means that as both man and God He is present to all creation. He reigns over the ends of the earth. And He sits on His throne in the midst of Mount Zion, that is, His Holy Christian Church. He dwells in our midst in His flesh and blood even as He sits at the right hand of the Most High and rules the nations.
He gathers a people to be His own out of all the nations on the earth. And we have become His inheritance and possession. For to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, says John 1:12.
We are all God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Through Him we are participants in the Divine Nature. And on the last day He will give us His glory, which He had with the Father before the world’s foundation was laid.
Christ is the Son of God and the Son of David, to whom all people on earth belong. Because of this He will also judge the world with righteousness.
Sadly, most of the people on earth do not want this Jesus, this exalted Son of God and Son of David, as their king. The psalm talks about this in its opening verses: Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together ,against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Most people on earth reject the reign of Christ. They do not want His light and easy yoke; or after they have borne it for a short time they throw it off again. The world, its people, and especially the great ones in the world—its rulers, kings, famous people, leaders—reject Christ. In fact they not only reject the Son of David and Son of God, but they rage against Him. They are angry and indignant with Him. They burst apart the bonds and cords that Jesus has placed upon them. And what bonds and cords are those? Bonds and cords of love, by which He binds us to Himself, in that He has taken on our flesh and blood, reconciled us to the Father, redeemed us from the curse of sin, death, and hell with His blood.
We may not always see this hatred and anger against Christ, but a little spark can set it ablaze. You may remember about fifteen years ago there was a joint service of prayer for the victims of the September 11th attacks at Yankee Stadium in 2001. Representatives of every religion were there, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims. An LCMS district president also showed up and gave a prayer in the name of Jesus. He was criticized because his prayer did not make clear that Jesus was the true God and the other gods being prayed to at that baseball field were idols, false gods. He was criticized by some pastors in the Missouri Synod, and rightly so. But when the press got wind of this criticism—oh the scorn and contempt and anger and hatred that fell on those pastors who criticized! And it wasn’t from the liberal press only, but especially from Fox News and talking heads who are supposed to be politically conservative! You would think that those pastors who wanted the LCMS to make clear that Jesus is true God, that all other religions are idolatrous and lead to hell—you would think they came from the devil himself! The world was very angry at those LCMS pastors for insisting that Jesus is the only king. That is because the world is angry and full of rage at Jesus for declaring that He is the only king and Savior of the world. Make no mistake—the world and people who do not believe are angry at Jesus and filled with rage against Him.
Yet the Psalm says that the Father and the Son laugh at the enemies of Christ. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Or, “the Lord mocks them.” And together with our Lord and King we also should scorn, laugh at, mock, and defy the rage of the world, together with all its pride, lust, and power. Because although they may rage and storm against Christ and His church for a little while, and look powerful and scary, they can do nothing against Christ’s kingdom beyond what He allows. They can’t go a step further than His will permits. They can’t eradicate Jesus’ kingdom, His church, from the earth. No matter how much they rage, storm, and tempt, Christ’s kingdom will endure and triumph.
The whole history of the world is a history of rebellion against Christ. In the days of the Old Testament the pagan nations gathered together to attack Israel and wipe out the throne of David from the earth. Then in the days of Christ the leaders of the Jews joined together with the Roman authorities to crucify their king, Jesus. They persecuted and raged against the apostles of Christ for continuing to preach in their king’s name.
Then for three centuries the pagan emperor of Rome tried to stamp out the kingdom of Christ with fire and sword, and obliterate the honor of Christ’s name by throwing His servants to wild beasts. And after the Roman empire was subdued and became at least outwardly obedient to the rule of Christ, the Antichrist rose up in the ashes of the Roman empire. He pretended to be the anointed One and demanded the worship and honor of Christ for Himself, binding the nations with the iron bands of his human laws and rules, claiming that no one could be saved by believing in Christ, but that they had to be obedient to him as well.
Even today the rulers of the earth and the people rage against Christ. The nations that formerly were obedient to the reign of Christ, at least outwardly—Christian nations of the west—have torn off Christ’s bands. Unspeakable blasphemies against the King of the earth are commonplace. More and more we see formerly Christian countries becoming hostile to the religion of their fathers, and more and more apathy is destroying the visible church, so that its numbers are small and its prospects bleak, at least humanly speaking.
But the Psalm tells us that this raging of the world against the reign of Christ will not last. For a little while Jesus allows it and holds back judgment. But soon He will come and reckon with the kings of the earth and the masses of the people who rejected His reign in His blessed Gospel of the forgiveness of sins.
He who sits in the heavens laughs…Then he will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in his fury, saying “As for me, I have set my king on Zion…” No one is going to rip God’s anointed off His throne. Instead, when He appears, and the nations are gathered before Him, the pride of the rulers of this age will be turned to wailing and the loud-mouthed scoffing of sinners will turn to gnashing of teeth.
The reading from Revelation pictures Jesus ruling the nations with a rod of iron. When He comes to silence the rage of His enemies, the Psalm pictures the Son of God being given this rod of iron by the Father. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. As a clay pot is shattered and broken into a thousand pieces by an iron rod, so the enemies of David’s Son will be shattered on the day of Christ’s return, never to recover. Christ will judge the world in righteousness, and all those whom He purchased by His blood who did not want Him to reign over them will be forced to submit to Him. But they will be broken beyond recovery.
So all must and will honor the Son as they honor the Father. This Son of David is also the Son of God. And all will honor Him, whether willingly or unwillingly. That’s why we preach to the world now: “Cease your hostility against Christ! Consider who you make war with—the king of all kings, the Lord of Lords who holds heaven and earth in His hand.” Now therefore, O Kings, be wise; be warned O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. V. 10-12
Yes. Be wise! Be warned. Serve the Lord with fear. Leave off from your rage against Him and your rebellion against Him to serve sin and the devil. Rejoice with trembling. That is, believe in the precious Gospel of this King, that He purchased you with His own blood and His innocent suffering and death. Rejoice in the forgiveness of His sins and turn from your rebellious ways, for with Him is full redemption and great forgiveness. He is a gracious king. Kiss the Son. Love and honor the beloved Son of the Father who died for you. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but has eternal life, for God did not send him into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. But whoever does not believe in Him is damned; whoever is angry with the Son is walking on the way to eternal death. His wrath is quickly kindled; it will appear suddenly on the last day and there will be no repenting then.
But Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Yes, blessed, eternally blessed, are those who take refuge in this King, who trust in Him. This is the comfort given to believers in Christ. We already have refuge and comfort in this life as Jesus defends us from the devil and his hordes, as He assures us that we stand righteous before Him in His word and sacraments. And when the Son comes, and His wrath burns over all the rebellious, and He says to those on His left, Depart into the eternal fire, those who trust in Him will hear His joyful voice saying, “Come, you who are blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” Then we will gaze upon the beauty of our king in His glory, and spend forever kissing the Son, giving Him thanks, and praising Him, the great God and Son of Man who died for us. Amen.
The peace of God that passes understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria