It is easy to be a little bit apathetic at Easter. It is a holiday, family commitments pile up, laughter and joy with friends can often be the focus. It is easy to meet church family on Easter Day with a smile and the familiar greeting and response, ‘Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!’ It is a wonderful truth, to be sure, that Christ has risen, for if the resurrection had not taken place then we who believe in the Lord Jesus are most to be pitied, for that which we believe is vanity (1 Cor 15:14). Yet, it is also important to make sure we remember the significance of the resurrection – what it says about who Jesus is, and how we shape up in relation to him. When I want to keep these things front of mind, I often turn to one of my favourite passages about King Jesus – Psalm 2.
While Psalm 2 might not be where our minds naturally gravitate at the thought of Easter, it is one of the most quoted psalms by the New Testament writers. It focuses on power and authority, and how the King, with all power and authority, views the people of this world. The relevance of Psalm 2 throughout the ages is uncanny, and even in 2022, we struggle with power, authority, and a trust of anyone who has both. This psalm is so relevant and challenging because it poses the question of what if? What if there were a leader with all power and authority, who was absolutely and perfectly good? What if there were a King installed by God enthroned in heaven, given all authority in heaven and on earth to rule? If one such figure were to exist, what would be the wise way to respond?
The Psalmist, King David, begins by asking the significant question, why (Psa 2:1-3)? Why is it the case that when God acts in this world, and appoints a ruler for the good of this world, that he is always met with such bitterness and hostility? Given that God is the Creator of all things, why is it that the world hates God and his anointed one? This has been the case throughout history – Moses was opposed by Pharaoh, Joshua was opposed by the Canaanites, and even King David faced many enemies. Yet the opposition against those types of the anointed one were nothing when juxtaposed against the opposition faced by Jesus, the Christ. Jesus, the perfect and true King, was crucified at the hands of Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews (Acts 4:24-26)! They plotted and conspired against God’s anointed one, and it was utter foolishness.
As the psalm goes on to show, raging against God and his anointed is nothing short of foolish when you consider God’s perspective (Psa 2:4-6). How does God see such rebellion? He laughs at its insignificance, as he sits on his throne in heaven and watches tiny rebellious humans shake their puny fists at him. Not only does he laugh and scoff, but God also brings judgement. Why does God bring judgement? He has installed his King on Zion, and there is nothing more foolish than rebelling against the one enthroned in heaven. It was lunacy to think that Pharaoh could defy God and his anointed Moses; to think that the nation of Canaan could defy God and his anointed Joshua; that Goliath could stand against God and his anointed David. They trembled at the terrifying judgement of God, and if that was their end, imagine what awaits those who rebel against the Christ? Surely, they will be dashed to pieces like pottery.
To add weight to this line of argument, see how the King describes himself in verses 7-9. Not only is the King a son to God as his Father, but he has been given all authority and power. He has been enthroned as the one who will judge the living and the dead. So imagine then, in the Gospel accounts, when on two separate occasions the heavens are torn open and we hear God say, “This is my son…” (Mark 1:11, 9:7) when speaking of the Nazarene Jesus. Further, imagine that after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the New Testament writers interpret these very events as the declaration of Jesus Christ as the Lord, as the Son of God (Acts 13:32-33; Rom 1:4, etc.). Post-resurrection, Jesus himself acknowledges that he has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. His authority is matched by his unparalleled power – the judge of the living and the dead who rules with an iron sceptre. If the Bible confirms Jesus as the anointed King of Psalm 2, then what is the only wise thing to do?
The only wise thing to do is to kiss the Son, pay homage to him, submit to him, and serve him. For be warned that anything short of this full and undivided obedience, trust, and loyalty may bring his wrath in anger (Psa 2:9-12)! This is the objective truth from the perspective of God who is enthroned in heaven, and we ought to heed this warning by running to King Jesus unabated. Should we turn to Jesus and take refuge in him, we are blessed and surely that is where we want to be, given the alternative. This is why Easter is worth celebrating. As we ask the most pertinent of questions – what is the wise thing to do? – we confirm our joy in following King Jesus, God’s anointed one, and being blessed as we take refuge in him.
Wishing you a blessed Easter weekend, as you ponder once again the awesome power and authority of King Jesus, in whom we have refuge and every blessing.