Christ in the Psalms (Part I)

Apr 16, 2010

by Jason Hood Ph.D.

Jason is a long-time 2pc member who teaches for the Fellows program and as Scholar-in-Residence at Christ UMC. This material also appears at the blog he shares with young adult pastor Mitchell Moore and Ruling Elder Matt Terhune,

thumbnail psalms 17th centuryFrom the New Testament through the church Fathers (including Tertullian, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Hilary) to interpreters of recent centuries (Luther, Spurgeon, Bonhoeffer), Christians have seen Jesus as one of the chief subjects of the Psalms.  Jesus has also been seen as the one who sings the Psalms:  he experienced the full range of human emotions and the full, intimate, honest relationship with God depicted in the Psalms.  In a sense Jesus even knew guilt, as he experienced the crushing weight of our sin and God’s judgment on rebels (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24).

The incredible variety of emotions and situations in the Psalms reflects Jesus’ own experience as God in human form, walking and living among us, experiencing what we experience. We also see Jesus in the Psalms as we remember his role as God Incarnate, the God who stoops to be with his people in their sojourn, their trials, their disappointments and disasters.  He is the shepherd who will not take us where he himself has not gone, and having trusted God as he went through the valley of death himself, he will not fail to take us through to the other side with him (Psalm 23).

We see Jesus as the lover of God’s Law who delighted in it and obeyed it perfectly (Psalm 1; 40:6-8; 119).  We see Jesus mourning for those who suffer.  We see him concerned for and identifying with the poor, the oppressed, and the lost (Psalm 41:1-3; 112:5, 9; 113:5-9; compare Matthew 25:31-46).  And we see Jesus proclaiming God’s salvation and faithfulness to the congregation (Psalm 40:9-10).

Read Christ in the Psalms, Part II