Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;English Standard Version
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
In the season of Advent, we remember and meditate on the time of waiting for the promised Messiah. As we pass through that season, we affirm the key spiritual discipline of waiting for God, and of trusting that God’s timing is best, just as God’s ways are best.
Then at Christmas, we remember and delight in the inconceivable blessing of God With Us, when the Creator of the universe chose to come to earth as a baby. In that celebration, we rejoice that God wanted to be so close to us that Jesus would become one of us. Just as the Eternal lived in a child’s form, we marvel that God has come to live in each of us. Though we are mortal, sinful, and weak, we have in us the Eternal, the Holy, the Perfect Love.
On Good Friday, we remember and grieve that the crucifixion was required to redeem us from our sins. The only One who was perfect gave Himself up to be ridiculed, beaten, and executed as a common criminal. We have Life because of His sacrifice, and “by his wounds we are healed.”
On Easter, we remember and rejoice that the worst that can happen to mortal flesh is no match for the Holy Power of God! In the resurrection, we see in physical form the miracle of the defeat both of Death and of Sin, and the evidence of the promise to us of Eternal Life in God’s presence. Just as Jesus was set free from the tomb, we are set free from all that would separate us from God.
Just as the story of Emmanuel didn’t stop with the shepherds and the Magi, the story of our Savior didn’t stop with the resurrection. Psalm 2 foretold that Jesus, the Anointed One, is victorious over everything, and all creation will acknowledge that “Jesus is Lord!” The good news conveyed in the angels’ song and honored in the gifts of the Magi repeated the same theme recorded by this psalmist, that this miraculous child was born not merely to live with us and die for us, but to be the King and Lord over us and all that God has made.
We cheat ourselves if we assume that we must wait for the End Time for the victory the psalmist foretold to take place. That victory is with us today! The infant was born, and we are reborn. Jesus taught, and we learn at his feet. Jesus died two thousand years ago for each of us living today. Jesus conquered Sin and Death, and we are set free. Jesus will win the final victory, and Jesus is winning victories in our lives right now.
Listen to the psalmist, writing a thousand years before the shepherd heard the angel’s announcement. This psalm proclaims the certainty of the victory that has already been won. Those who are mighty on earth are warned to become servants of the King, and those who serve the King are already receiving the blessings of this victory. What was true for the psalmist was true for the apostles and is true for us today. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him!”
The Gift that God sent to earth at Christmas became the sacrifice of the Crucifixion, and God did not stop until Sin and Death were defeated at the Resurrection and Jesus ascended to be Lord of All. In the very same way, our response to the Advent, Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter chronicle is not complete until we live in joyful anticipation and confidence of what the triumphant God is doing now in us.
Scripture passage from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.