Our Great Hope and Assurance: Christ our King and Priest - Psalm 110

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As Jesus taught in the Temple court just days before His crucifixion, He makes a subtle and yet undeniable announcement. With a crowd gathered round Jesus asks a question about Psalm 110 and before the discussion is over this is clear: Jesus is claiming Psalm 110 is about Him.

Psalm 110 is a Psalm of David that describes a coming and victorious king. A king who will be exalted to a place of honor, who will be given sovereign authority and who will defeat all His enemies. And that’s not all: The Psalm also describes this king as a priest unlike any other.

In Psalm 110 we learn of a great King-Priest and we know from the testimony of Jesus that it speaks of Him. As we consider the Psalm we should grow in hope and assurance. Hope because the King is on His throne and He will come in victory. And assurance because we have a priest through whom we can draw near to God – now and forever.

Our Great Hope – Jesus the Victorious King (110:1-3, 5-7)

  • A Trinitarian Conversation (vs. 1a) - As David penned Psalm 110, inspired by the Holy Spirit, it’s as if He was overhearing a conversation between God the Father (the LORD) and God the Son (my Lord). The Father is speaking and He’s making these great declarations about who the Son will be and what He will accomplish.
  • The King’s Position (vs. 1b-1c)
  • The place – The Father tells the Son that after His work on the cross is completed, He will sit down in a place of honor and authority (Hebrews 1:3-4; Philippians 2:9-11). Even now Jesus has full dominion – His rule is sure. 
  • The duration – While Jesus is already ruling and reigning, His enemies have been permitted to remain for a time while God continues His work of redemption. But one day God will subdue all His enemies and Christ’s victory will be seen by all.
  • The King’s Rule (vs. 2)
  • In vs. 2 we hear a declaration from God the Father as He gives the Son full rule and reign. While the fullness of His reign isn’t yet visible or seen by all, it is certain. He now reigns and will forever reign with majesty and might.
  • Charles Spurgeon[1] - We look for the clearer manifestation of his almighty power in the latter days; but even in these waiting times we rejoice that to the Lord all power is given in heaven and earth.
  • The King’s People (vs. 3)
  • In a verse full of symbolism the Psalm describes the people of God on the day when the King’s power and authority are revealed. This verse likely describes the day of resurrection when all of Christ’s people are joined to Him wholly sanctified and in full allegiance.
  • While we look forward to the day when we will stand with our King we must not miss the opportunity to live in full allegiance to Him today – this is how are called to live (Rom. 12:1; Col. 3:1-4). 
  • The King’s Judgment and Victory (vv. 5-7)
  • In vivid language the psalm describes the wrath of God being brought against those who oppose Him. The description of God’s judgment should be sobering, yet at the same time we should rejoice that Christ will be victorious. We desire for all to repent and to avoid God’s judgment, and yet we find comfort in knowing that no one can oppose Him and still stand (Revelation 19:11-21).
  • In verse 7 we have a clear acknowledgment of the peace that comes when the King is victorious and the honor He receives after His enemies have been subdued. 

Our Great Assurance – Jesus the Eternal Priest (110:4) 

  • To know that Jesus is the sovereign King who will silence and subdue His enemies is only good news if we know that we are in right standing with God. Thankfully Jesus doesn’t only come as the great King but also as the final and perfect priest that we need to bring us into right relationship with God.
  • Large sections of the book of Hebrews serve as an extended commentary on Psalm 110:4. Because of the promise of God (which cannot fail) Jesus is an eternal priest who will forever stand and intercede before God on behalf of His people (Hebrews 5:1-6; 7:15-25; 4:15-16 for starters).


[1] Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Volume II, Psalms 88-150, Thomas Nelson, Nashville