Christ for Us (Psalm 20)
Reflections on Psalm 20
The airplane engines began to hum and thrum. The co-flyers surrounding me chattered excitedly, a chorus of languages I didn’t speak or only half knew. My mind, however, precluded speech as it churned over one thought: What’s it going to be like to see Italy in person?
I had read stories of majestic monuments cloaked in marble, of legions marching off to war, and of Brutus sticking it to Caesar. These tales, though breathed through wonder, were imagined realities on history’s pages. What would it be like, however, to see this place in person?
As we leaf through the Bible’s holy writ, tales of kings slaying giants, priests parting waters, and prophets shuttering lion’s mouths dance across our imagination. In this recital of Scriptural narrative, we hear tell of God’s greater reality, a world that transcends our own physical reality, though the two stand next to each other and overlap like the intertwined hands of lovers. This is the spiritual realm, and from it God speaks to us.
As the Lord talks to us from eternity, he spoke the greatest Word. This perfect sound wrapped himself in our humanity, though he never stopped being God. With one foot in heaven and one foot on earth, this Word, Jesus Christ, offered us a glimpse of the spiritual realm, like a photograph of a distant place we’ve always wanted to visit. To look upon the face of this dual-being is to see the face of God himself. In his eyes we see that God sees us. With his mouth we hear messages from the Father. As our words fall upon his ears, they are rising to the Lord who his ever eager to listen to his anointed one.
Jesus, man for our forgiveness and God for our redemption, turns to the Father on our behalf, saying prayers for our lives. Now when Christ speaks to the Lord, “this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary” (Psalm 20:6). Whatever Jesus asks will be granted. Most of all, he asks for us. The Father, who loves to answer the requests of his anointed one, will rescue us. As Christ prays for you and me, God rises from his throne to act on our behalf. In all the sins struggling for our souls and the injustices plaguing our society, the Lord is working to save us. When we see his activity on our behalf, we will declare, “May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God” (Psalm 20:5). Our new confidence will be in Jesus. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).
When I emerged from the plane onto Italy’s soil, I was overwhelmed in breathing the oxygen of this fairytale land, a sight I had never seen. When I first met Jesus, the same fulfilled wonder pierced my heart, yet somehow he seemed so familiar. When I saw him, I saw the face of those who had loved me well. When he spoke, I heard the words of comfort friends spoke to me during seasons of trial. I had lived so long on the receiving end of his intercessions that when I met the one making the plea on my behalf he didn’t seem completely unknown; he smelled of home. Jesus had brought my broken reality to God’s very throne, where grace and mercy met me.
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. What do you imagine when you think of the spiritual world?
2. How does Jesus shape our thoughts on this reality?
3. How does it shape you knowing that Jesus is praying for you?
Dear God, you are heaven’s King. The greatest reality begins at your throne. It was seen most truly, however, on the beams of the cross where your Son was pierced for my forgiveness. The Lord of heaven died in earth’s confines to save those drowning in its sinful waves. You raised your beloved Son to new life, however, and he now stands before your throne praying for me day and night. Through him and him alone can I approach your throne. Thank you for your love, mercy, and grace. In Christ I pray, amen.