Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Gospel of God’s Messiah King

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4)
This is the “gospel of God” to which Paul devoted his life, the good news promised by Israel’s prophet.

This good news is about the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Son of God. In Psalm 2, God speaks of His Son in a very singular way. He is called “Anointed” (Messiah) in verse 2. God says of Him, “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (v. 6) and “You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (v. 7). God gives Him this promise: “Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (v. 8). To the kings of the earth who have heretofore set themselves against the LORD and His Anointed (vv. 1-2), He now gives the invitation: “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry … Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him (vv. 11-12) (See my articles on Psalm 2).
  • Jesus. This is His name. It literally means “salvation.” Jesus is the Anglicized version of Iesous, which is the Greek translation of Yeshua, the Hebrew word for “salvation.” That is why the angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “You shall call his name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
  • Christ. This is the Anglicized, Greekified version of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “Anointed One.” It is not Jesus’ last name, as many people seem to think, but a title that signifies that Jesus is the one promised by God, anointed by God to be the deliverer and King of Israel and all the world.
  • Lord. This does not mean “mister” or even simply “master.” Jesus is not one lord among many, He is “Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14). In the Roman Empire, it was Caesar who was hailed as Lord, ruler over all, and when he died, he was thought to have ascended to heaven to be deified. But Paul turns all that on its head with his declaration that it is Jesus the Messiah who is Lord — King over all.
The good news is that Jesus was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. This statement does not merely establish the true humanity of Jesus, but identifies Him as the fulfillment of all God’s promises from the beginning (see The Gospel of the King). He is the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the tribe of Judah and of the house of David. He is the promised Messiah King whom God would set to rule over all.

The good news is that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. This statement establishes that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, anointed to be King over all. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead demonstrates this to be so. The Jews believed there would be a general resurrection of the righteous at the end of the age, but here now was Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, vindicated by God and shown to be righteous by His resurrection from the dead ahead of time by the power of the Holy Spirit. It signaled that the old age was coming to a close and the age of God’s kingdom was now beginning on earth.

This is the gospel of God Paul came to announce: Jesus is King and God has raised Him from the dead. It is this confession, this agreement in faith, by which we are delivered and restored and brought into proper alignment with God and His kingdom: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Blessed are all who put their trust in Him.