Holy Week: Wednesday (Psalm 2:1–3) - Radical

Holy Week: Wednesday (Psalm 2:1–3)

For Pray the Word on this Wednesday of holy week we’re actually thinking back to one of the Psalms that helps us understand what is happening during holy week.

“Why do the nations raise and the people’s plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against the anointed. Say, let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” – Psalm 2:1–3

Leaders plotted to bring Christ’s ministry to an end, but the schemes of man cannot stop purposes of God.

So you think about it for a pretty good period of time, Jewish leaders had been plotting and scheming to end Jesus’ life. Their animosity in a sense had been building since the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, thinking about John 5, for instance, when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, and the Jewish leaders were outraged when Jesus proceeded to equate himself with God, and then became all the more determined to kill him.

The Prophetic Nature of Psalm 2:1–3

So during this holy week, the opposition to Jesus was coming to a head. Wednesday may have well been the day when the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews, met in order to decide what to do with Jesus. But their opposition to God and his anointed or the Messiah was nothing new. The psalmist had spoken of the raging of the nations, against, as verse two says, the Lord, and against his anointed, centuries before. Just as the nations in the Old Testament had set themselves against King David. His royal line, the line God had chosen to rule his people. So now, the opposition was reaching its climax in a sense in this hostility towards Jesus, the king from David’s line.

These Verses Remind Us That the Schemes of Man Cannot Prevail Against God’s Will

In the next 48 hours, Jesus would be betrayed by these leaders, falsely tried, and executed on a cross. But as Psalm 2:1–3 reminds us, the schemes of sinful man cannot prevail. God laughs at the nations. That’s the whole picture here in Psalm 2:1–3 because his plans can’t be altered, and his kingship can’t be thwarted. In fact, God uses this ultimate expression of opposition in holy week, the cross, as the means through which the saving plan that he set in motion is fulfilled.

The Two Choices We Face

So as we think about those who rejected Christ, we shouldn’t forget that apart from God’s grace, we are all enemies of God. Our voices would have cried out among these crowds, because we were dead in our trespasses and sins. It’s only by God’s grace that any one of us is saved from our sins. So gratefully in this same Psalm, Psalm 2, which speaks of those who oppose God and the Messiah, oppose Jesus, there are other terms about peace. Like now, therefore, oh kings be wise. Be warned oh rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. But listen to this phrase. Blessed are all who take refuge in him, like that’s good news.

Giving Thanks to God for Forgiving Our Sins

For sinners, it’s the message that we are most thankful for in our lives. We want to make known around the world that though we have opposed God in our lives in so many ways, he loves us, and has made a way for us to be forgiven of all of our opposition against him. And restored to relationship with him. So we pray, God, we know, we confess that we have sinned against you. We have set ourselves against you in many ways. It looks different in all of our lives, but we’ve all turned from your way to our own ways. We’ve all taken your word toward us and said no, we’re going to do things our own way.

We just praise you for your love for us and we praise you for your grace toward us. We praise you for your mercy toward us. So in Psalm 2:1–3 kind of way, even though we have opposed you, we praise you for loving us and being a refuge for us. God, thank you for sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins against you. For our rebellion and opposition against you. Thank you for making a way for us to be forgiven of all of our sins, and reconciled, redeemed, and restored to a relationship with you.
So help us then, in light of that, God help us not to live in opposition to your ways.

Asking God to Help Us Live Well

Help us by the grace you’ve given us, by the love you’ve given us in Christ. Help us to honor you with our lives. And help us to live according to your ways today. Keep us, God, all day long, we pray, from turning to our ways. Help us to trust in your ways. Not to live, practically in any way today, in opposition to you. But in relationship with you, in obedience to you. Enjoy the refuge we find in your love for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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