Reader: “The Lord said to my Lord,”
Response: “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies.”
Scripture: Psalm 110
The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”
The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem;
you will rule over your enemies.
When you go to war,
your people will serve you willingly.
You are arrayed in holy garments,
and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.
The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you.
He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts.
He will punish the nations
and fill their lands with corpses;
he will shatter heads over the whole earth.
But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
He will be victorious.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
An epiphany is about gaining new insight into a situation or process. In other words, the “light goes on!” Let’s look a little closer at this text. You have probably noticed before or had someone explain the difference between “LORD” and “Lord.” But just in case, when the text is “LORD,” the Hebrew YHWH, the transliterated name of God is referred to. When Moses was at the burning bush and asked God, “Who shall I say sent me (to lead the Israelites out of Egypt)? What is his name?” God’s answer was “I AM WHO I AM” or “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.” That is to say, God is self-sufficient, self-existent, the only being in the universe that is not dependent upon something else for his existence. God is outside of creation. He is the uncreated Creator of all that was, is, or ever will be. This is the God of Mt. Sinai, Israel’s LORD.
Later on, the Jews regarded the name of God as too holy to be pronounced. The name was never said out loud, so Adonai, meaning lord or master, was substituted when the spoken text referred to YHWH. When the text is “Lord,” and not “LORD,” it’s meaning is ‘my master, my superior.’ I hope you are not confused! Jesus quoted this very text (Lk.20:42-44) in claiming he was the Messiah. So you would read it, God the Father said to his Son, (a son of King David), “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies.”
The right hand of God was the place of authority and strength. In the court of the Sanhedrin, it was also the place of acquittal whereas the court position on the left hand side was of conviction. The New Testament has several references to Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33 (Ascension); 7:55-56; (Stephen’s martyrdom); Heb.1:3. Now, the question Jesus was driving home was, “Why would king David address his son as his Lord?” . . . unless his son was his Messiah. The implication to the Pharisees was that this “son of David” was more than just a human being. They had much trouble grasping that God would ever come in human flesh, which was the central focus at the opening of John’s gospel. As you read the psalm, notice particularly the spelling of Lord or LORD. When it is LORD, the reference is to God the Father (Is.63:16). When the spelling is Lord, the reference is to the Son, the Messiah.
One other note concerning this pericope, there is the reference where the LORD says to the Lord, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Kings in the First Testament, while being patrons of the Temple, never functioned as priests. In contrast, the Messiah served as both king and high priest. Melchizedek, was both priest and king of Jerusalem in spite of not being from the tribe of Levi and lineage of Aaron. In like manner, Jesus likewise served as King, Priest, and also Prophet, though he was from the tribe of Judah from the lineage of David not Aaron. King Jesus, the Messiah, will ultimately rule the nations and set up his eternal kingdom. A flesh and blood Messiah who would reach out to all peoples and tribes and tongues was the mystery of the Old Testament and a great surprise to the Jews and Jewish leaders of the New Testament.
Music: “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Dan Forrest Atlanta Master Chorale
Bonus: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” Michael Bublé Beautiful!
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. ―BCP