2. Psalm 2:9 – Dashing Them to Pieces (Messiah Part II)
“You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” – Psalm 2:9
The four Messiah pieces before the “Hallelujah” chorus come from Psalm 2 (translation: the Coverdale Psalter):
Why do the nations so furiously rage together? And why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed… (vv. 1-2)
…[saying,] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their yokes from us. (v. 3)
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: the Lord shall have them in derision. (v. 4)
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (v. 9)
The first three verses of Psalm 2 are a prophecy of how the world would react when Jesus came on the scene. While the common people loved him, the rulers of the day – both political rulers and religious leaders – viewed Jesus as a threat to their positions of power. The “kings of the earth” responded by conspiring to get rid of Jesus.
As detailed in Luke 23, the religious leaders could not kill Jesus on their own, so they brought him before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. When he learned that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent him to Herod, who had jurisdiction over that region. Herod ended up sending Jesus back to Pilate, and “Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day” (v. 12).
When Pilate protested to the religious leaders that Jesus had done nothing deserving death, they demanded that Jesus be crucified. According to the Gospel of John, when Pilate refused to crucify Jesus, the religious leaders incited the crowd to threaten that Pilate was an enemy of Rome because Jesus had declared himself a king, and anyone “who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” (John 19:12) Fearing for his political life, Pilate had no choice but to turn Jesus over to be crucified.
The rulers of the world appeared to have won, but God, of course, got the last laugh.
The death of Jesus on the cross was not a defeat but a victory…for each of us. Jesus died for our sins and opened for us the pathway of salvation.
That’s why Psalm 2 says that God holds the rulers of this world – and Satan, whom Jesus called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) – in derision and laughs them to scorn.
Ultimately, God will break, or rule, all those who have rejected Him, and God will shatter them to pieces like a clay jar thrown against a wall.
Psalm 2 is a foreshadowing of Christ’s work on the cross. Another relatively obscure Psalm provides a foreshadowing of the events two days later, on Easter morning.
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