It was the middle of the night. A lone figure lay prostrate on the floor seeking guidance from the Almighty. A monumental task had been assigned to the faithful follower of Jesus: to write a series of teachings specifically for the community of Jewish believers defining who Jesus was and eliminating any confusion as to his supremacy in the Kingdom of God. How could one even begin such a task?
Three scrolls lay across the desk. The first was the recently received testimony of John Mark which was open to the final public teaching of Jesus.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he asked, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself says by the Holy Spirit:
The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet.’
David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How, then, can he be his son?”
Jesus asked the question; no answer was recorded. Did anyone respond to his invitation to linger over this scripture? What was its full context, and why did Jesus find it so significant?
The disciple was convicted by an acute awareness of personal failure to meditate on these words and their meaning. It was time to linger…
This led to the second scroll – a collection of Psalms of David, open to the scripture that Jesus had quoted.
This is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion.
Rule over your surrounding enemies.
Your people will volunteer on your day of battle.
In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn, the dew of your youth belongs to you.
The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back:
“You are a priest forever according to the pattern of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his anger.
He will judge the nations, heaping up corpses; he will crush leaders over the entire world.
He will drink from the brook by the road; therefore, he will lift up his head.
The disciple was intrigued by the familiar words, wondering what might have been in the mind of David when he penned them. In what way was he “speaking by the Spirit”? Were they whispered in his ear, or was he permitted a veiled glimpse of this majestic scene that took place in the throne room of heaven, much like the experience of Isaiah the prophet?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to pose those questions to David himself? The disciple cautiously surrendered to the current of the imagination.
What did you see, my friend?
Did you catch a glimpse of heaven itself?
Did you hear the voice of the Creator – the one who spoke the earth and the farthest reaches of the universe into existence? Did you recognize it as the One who so often whispered in your ear? Could you feel the breath of the One who breathed life into mankind?
Can you begin to describe the thoughts and feelings you had when you glimpsed your Lord – the One you knew intimately, but had never met? Did you recognize the One who existed before you, but was also born of your seed? The one who shared your pain and sorrow in a way that was beyond your own comprehension? Was it overwhelming to ponder? Do you cry to the Spirit “How can this be?”
Did you see memories of things that had not yet come to pass? Did the angels weep when he laid aside his glory and descended to earth? Did you see the helpless infant born in the lowliest of circumstances? Did you hear heaven rejoice when the little child planted his feet solidly upon the earth beneath him? Did you feel the earth respond in relieved worship of the One who had come to free it from the curse it bore? Did the powers of darkness shudder at the same contact? Did you see him live and die to redeem you from that darkness? Did you see him overcome death itself, and return to take his throne?
Did you recognize the scepter in his hand as the rod of your father, Jesse, now restored and unbreakable, with an ever-increasing reach?
Did you hear Almighty God boldly declare his eternal priesthood before the people? Did you rejoice to see his priestly garments underneath his royal robes and stones upon his shoulders inscribed with the names of those he served? Could you feel the depth of his grace and mercy as he poured out his own blood to atone for your sins?
Did you marvel at the sight of people gathered beneath his scepter, countless in number, cleansed by his blood, empowered by his might, reflecting his glory, and enveloped by the same Spirit that dwelled with you? Could you envision the impact of such a force commissioned to take his message to the world? Did you bow in submission and cry, “Send me!”
Were you a witness to the downfall of earths most powerful kingdoms, and humbled by the sight of the earth riddled with skeletons of once-invincible fortresses? Were you terrified when he turned his face toward them, sending forth fire, and purging the earth of all that stood in opposition to him? Did you understand that it was only because of your High Priest and his blood that he passed over you?
Did you see the river flowing from the sanctuary and refreshing our Lord as he waged war for our eternal souls? Did you thirst for those waters until the day they swept you up and deposited you cleansed and holy before his throne?
Did you weep, or dance, or fall on your face in worship? Do you now do the same in the very throne room that you once described so eloquently?
Were images like this on your mind when you encouraged your son to direct his heart to understanding and to call out for insight; when you promised that this ache for intimacy would lead to understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God? Was it your ambition for him to share your advice with generations to come?
I don’t know exactly what you heard or understand just how the Spirit prompted you to write or to speak, but I am grateful for your testimony.
I have many more scriptures to investigate, but the words and images contained in your Psalms are so rich with truth about Jesus. They give me a starting point as I take pen in hand to instruct my brothers and sisters in the truth. Thank you, my friend. I look forward to the day I meet you face to face.
God of peace, who brought up from the dead my Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the everlasting covenant, I pray that you would equip me with everything good to do your will. Work in me what is pleasing in your sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
As morning broke, the disciple returned to the desk, opened the third scroll, and began to write:
“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
(Scriptural Inspirations: Mark 12:35-37; Psalm 110; Proverbs 2:1-5; Hebrews 13:20-21, 1:1-3)