Psalms - Teachers Comments

2024 Quarter 1 Lesson 09 - Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord

Teachers Comments
Feb 24 - Mar 01

Key Texts: Psalm 118:22, 23

This week, we shall study the most sublime subject in all of Scripture: our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The centrality of Jesus to the whole Bible is of paramount importance to our understanding of Scripture, and in this regard, the Psalter is no exception. Among its various songs of praise—forgiveness, justice, and retribution—Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd, the suffering Messiah, the Son of David, the King Eternal, and the heavenly Priest. These depictions help us to better comprehend His preeminent position in the plan of Redemption and His love for every one of us.

The book of Psalms gives us a broader perspective of Jesus’ ministry in heaven and of His second coming. This week, we will consider from the Psalter some of these perspectives on Jesus and His work.

Part II: Commentary

The writers of the New Testament considered the book of Psalms an important source for understanding the life and work of Christ. The New Testament references many passages from the Psalter to show how Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecies. Some of these references are “quotations” (that is, word-for-word citations) and others are “allusions” (indirect references to an Old Testament text and its ideas as opposed to a word-for-word quotation).

There are many references in the Psalter to Christ’s deity and His ministry on earth. These references reveal intentionality on the part of the psalmists, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to foreground and herald the work of Jesus. With this overview in mind, let’s turn our attention to the verses of the Psalter that the New Testament writers apply to Jesus.

Jesus Is the Yahweh of the Old Testament—He Is God!

Prophecy Psalm New Testament Application
Jesus should be worshiped. Ps. 97:7 Heb. 1:6
Jesus, as God, receives honors. Ps. 45:6, 7 Heb. 1:8, 9
Jesus is Creator and is eternal. Ps. 102:25–27 Heb. 1:10–12
Jesus is the Son of God. Ps. 2:7 Acts 13:33, Heb. 1:5, Heb. 5:5

The divinity of Jesus is an important topic for New Testament writers as it should be for us, too. In the table on the previous page, we can see the passages from the Psalms, referring to Yahweh’s divinity, that Paul and Luke apply to Jesus. Jesus’ divinity makes His sacrifice both singular and powerful; that is, the One who died on the cross to redeem us was the Creator Himself. What a profound thought! We will never fully fathom its sublime depths in all of its dimensions, now or throughout the endless ages of eternity, though seeking to contemplate and internalize its beautiful truths will, nonetheless, transform our hearts.

The Life and Ministry of Jesus

Prophecy Psalm New Testament Application
Jesus’ incarnation and complete offering Ps. 40:6–10 Heb. 10:5–7
Zeal for God’s house shall consume Jesus. Ps. 69:9 John 2:17
Jesus shall open His mouth in a parable. Ps. 78:2 Matt. 13:35
Jesus shall feed the people with the bread of heaven. Ps. 78:24 John 6:31
Jesus is the cornerstone. Ps. 118:22 Matt. 21:42, Mark 12:10–11, Luke 20:17
Children shall praise Jesus’ works in the temple. Ps. 8:2 Matt. 21:16

The writers of the Gospels and of the New Testament understood that particular passages from the Old Testament, such as certain Psalms, proclaimed the ministry of Jesus. On account of the numerous citations in the New Testament from the Psalter, one arguably could say that the Psalms was the favorite book of the New Testament authors. The New Testament writers used the Psalms to affirm that the prophets foretold the significant events of Jesus’ ministry on earth, as highlighted by six of these events in the table above.

Jesus’ Suffering and Passion

Prophecy Psalm New Testament Application
Jesus is betrayed by a close associate. Ps. 41:9 John 13:18
His enemies give Him gall and vinegar to drink when He thirsts. Ps. 69:21 Matt. 27:34, 48
He is forsaken by God. Ps. 22:1 Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34
Jesus is mocked. Ps. 22:7 Matt. 27:39, Luke 23:35
His enemies shaked their heads at Him. Ps. 109:25 Matt. 27:39
They defy Jesus’ faith. Ps. 22:8 Matt. 27:43
They divide His garments. Ps. 22:18 Matt. 27:35, Mark 15:24
Jesus becomes a reproach to His friends. Ps. 88:8 Luke 23:49
Jesus utters His last words. Ps. 31:5 Luke 23:46
His bones are not broken. Ps. 34:20 John 19:36
His body will not decay in the grave. Ps. 16:8–11 Acts 2:25–28, Acts 13:35

The apostles sought to furnish scriptural evidence in support of the suffering and death of Jesus as an event predicted in detail in the Old Testament. (Keep in mind that we are working here with scriptural evidence based only on the Psalter. Of course, much more evidence in favor of the suffering of Christ can be found in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Isaiah.)

The accumulation of scriptural evidence from the Psalms validates the factualness of the agony, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are the culmination of salvation history between the Fall and the Second Coming as well as the central point of the Redemption plan.

Jesus’ Exaltation After His Resurrection

Prophecy Psalm New Testament Application
The Messiah sits at the right hand of the Lord. Ps. 110:1 Matt. 22:34, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34
A descendant from David will be on David’s throne. Ps. 132:11 Acts 2:30
Jesus rules the nations. Ps. 2:1, 2 Acts 4:25, 26
Jesus is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Ps. 110:1 Heb. 5:6, 10; Heb. 6:20; Heb. 7:17, 21
Jesus led captivity captive. Ps. 68:18 Eph. 4:7, 8

Jesus’ ministry of atonement in heaven is of no less importance than the atoning sacrifice He accomplished on Mount Calvary. Thus, it’s no coincidence that, among New Testament writers, Psalm 110 is the most quoted, or alluded to, passage from the Old Testament. Case in point, Psalm 110:1 is used 17 times in the New Testament: Matthew 22:44; Matthew 26:44; Mark 12:36; Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42–43; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:34, 35; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12, 13; Hebrews 12:2; Colossians 3:1; while Psalm 110:4 is quoted a total of four times: Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:17, 21.

The heavenly ministry of Jesus, along with our understanding of His work on our behalf, is central to our daily spiritual experience as Christians. Hebrews states with confidence: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19, 20, NKJV, where it quotes the end of Psalm 110:4).

Attributes of God’s Character in the Psalms Applied to Jesus in the New Testament

To further understand how the Messianic perspectives provided in the Psalms relate to Jesus, let’s examine the following examples from the Psalter and their New Testament applications:

  • The goodness of the Lord can be “tasted” or experienced personally: Ps. 34:8 (1 Pet. 2:3, 4)
  • Jesus forgives sins: Ps. 103:2, 3 (Luke 5:21, 24)
  • He is the Life: Ps. 36:9 (John 1:4)
  • He is the Rock: Ps. 18:2, Ps. 95:1 (1 Pet. 2:6, 1 Cor. 10:4)
  • He is righteous: Ps. 129:4, Ps. 145:17 (1 John 1:9, 1 John 2:1)
  • He is omnipresent: Ps. 139:8 (Eph. 1:23, Matt. 18:20)
  • His kingdom is eternal: Ps. 145:13 (Dan. 7:14, the Son of Man)
  • His Word dwells in the believer: Ps. 119:11 (Col. 3:16)

As these examples show, the God of the Psalms is the Messiah revealed in the New Testament. Thus, the God of the Old Testament is not a dif­ferent deity from the Divinity revealed in the New Testament.

The Messianic Tone of Psalm 24

Some psalms allude to certain Messianic events or pictures. Psalm 24 is one such psalm. Verses 1–6 relate back to Psalm 15, given their thematic similarity. Psalm 24 also provides insight into the identity of the ones who are permitted to go into the Holy Place, or God’s holy hill.

In verses 7–10, the psalm assumes a Messianic tone. It describes the Lord entering a holy city. Many commentators, one of whom is Ellen G. White, apply this section to Jesus’ ascension to heaven (see Early Writings, pp. 190–192). These verses are a joyful depiction of the entrance of Jesus into the celestial kingdom amidst the singing of the angels, who proclaim Him the “King of glory” and “the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8, NKJV). This scene is a representation in miniature of the grand event in the future when all the redeemed will enter through the gates of the Holy City.

Part III: Life Application

In review, let’s consider the reasons for the importance of this week’s study to our spiritual lives. First, our study has been a confirmation of the divine origins of the prophetic Word. How else can we explain the myriad pronouncements of biblical writers, from the tenth to fifth centuries B.C., who predicted with unerring accuracy the seminal life events of the coming Messiah? How else could Jesus, in turn, fulfill all the particulars of these prophecies, if not by the guidance of the Spirit, under whose inspiration the prophets foretold of the coming Savior? Nowadays the workplace, the echelons of academia and science, and various social media platforms are rife with the derision and scorn of incredulous minds who mock the Scriptures. In the face of such rank skepticism, it is our sincere hope that this week’s study strengthens the faith of your students in the Anointed One and His Word.

If nothing else, our study this week reveals the unity of the Bible. While it is outwardly a collection of writings from different authors, recorded in dif­ferent places and cultures over the course of 16 centuries, together these writings form a cohesive whole. The Bible’s ideas and themes are carefully intertwined, revealing the Spirit that inspired the minds of the prophets and the apostles who wrote it. The end result is the creation of the greatest masterpiece ever penned in human history. Our faith and actions should be founded on this solid rock.

Finally, our comparison of the Psalter with the New Testament has afforded us new insights into the Person and character of Jesus. The Scriptures are like a treasure chest wherein we may discover more precious gems of truth about our amazing God.