January 07, 2018

A Rod of Iron

Psalm 2

You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

—  Psalm 2:9

Psalm 2 pictures a coming king—the Messiah—who uses violence and destruction to establish his kingdom. Interestingly, the Messiah’s use of the rod of iron is always pictured as a future event in the New Testament. It is only at the second coming of Jesus that he strikes the nations with a sharp sword and rules them with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).

The first coming of Christ as a baby in Bethlehem and his second coming at the end of time call us to know the Messiah as both the crucified one and the triumphant King. The community of God’s people at the time of Jesus never expected two comings of the Messiah. But the New Testament reveals what is concealed.

Because Christ in his first coming suffered and endured abuse, Christians must be ready to take up their cross with Jesus. The early church indeed faced suffering from the rulers of their day. The apostles, for example, were jailed and beaten for preaching about Jesus, but they also stood up to the religious rulers, confessing Jesus as the only Savior (Acts 4-5). Looking ahead and knowing that Christ in his second coming will reign triumphantly, we can overcome any difficult circumstance and experience Jesus’ resurrected glory.

I hope you are experiencing both the cross and the resurrection in your Christian life.

God, we praise you that the crucified Christ is also the triumphant King of kings. Lord, may the cross and the crown be a double reality in our lives, and may we faithfully tell ­others about you. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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