Christ in the Psalms

Last Sunday I preached at Highgrove Church on the topic of ‘Songs of the Saviour’, looking at Jesus Christ in the Psalms:

I was keen to read quite a bit of scripture as part of the talk and honed in on Psalm 22 and Mark 15. As part of this, I also reference the following (by no means exhaustive) references to the Psalms in the gospels:

Sufferings of Christ

  • Stone the builders rejected: Ps 2:8; 118:22-23 – Matt 21:42
  • The Garden of Gethsemane: Ps 40 – Matt 26:42
  • His close friends would betray him: Ps 41:9
  • Jesus’ last few words “into your hands I commit my Spirit” quote Ps 31:5.
  • His bones will not be broken: Ps 34:20
  • He will rise from the dead – “you will not let your faithful one see decay”: Ps 16:8-10

Glories of Christ – the God depicted in Psalms fit Jesus like a glove

  • Kings bow down to him: Ps 72:10 – Matt 2:11
  • Descendant of David: Ps 89:3-4; 35-36
  • Beatitudes blessed are the meek: Psalms refer to the meek Ps 37:11
  • Jesus calms the storm: Ps 107:29; 65:7 – Mk 8:24; Matt 8:26
  • As Jesus is clearing the Temple, the disciples remembered that it was said in Ps 69:9: “zeal for your house will consume me.”

I sought to avoid giving the impression that these are ‘proof texts’, but rather convey the frequency with which the gospels draw upon the Psalms as it processes what is going on in and through the life of Jesus. The frequency with which Jesus himself quotes or draws upon the Psalms cannot be ignored. Interpreting scripture through the lens of Jesus does not mean that we read every passage as pointing to Jesus. But that the story of Israel, and our story, only begins to make sense as we read scripture with new eyes. The story only hangs together with Jesus.

… the New Testament continually uses the book of Psalms to fix our gaze upon the excellencies of Christ, upon [his] majesty, beauty, and glory.

– Michael Morales

Praying with loud passion

Andrew from Olive Tree talks about starting prayer times with good intentions but quickly creating a prayer sandwich with a distracted filling that looks something like this:

My unfocused prayer sessions were bugging me so… the next day as I was about start my prayer time I tried something different. Instead of softly mumbling my prayers to God, I made them loud. Not only did I make them loud, I actually stirred myself up to speak them as if they were actually really important, as if they were urgent, and as if they really mattered! Not surprising, my prayer time not only lasted longer but it was more focused.

Jesus didn’t just pray quiet prayers, but also prayed with loud passion.

Elijah & Mount Carmel

Elijah

Having survived a rough night’s sleep to raise money for the work of the Crisis Centre, Bristol, on Friday night, I’ve been sharing some thoughts this weekend on Elijah at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40). A fantastic story!

I’m trying to explore at the moment how to tell the story of Scripture in a way that comments on and enables people to engage with it rather than trotting out the same old three-point sermon that can kill people’s engagement with the story unfolding through the text. Not suggesting I’m any good at it mind you!