In Colossians 3:16, we are exhorted to let “the Word of Christ dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” The Lord is calling us to follow Him in this regard. Even though the Lord Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, His mind and heart were formed and filled by Scripture.
Jesus Was Formed and Directed By God’s Word
At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus was in the desert 40 days, eating nothing. Satan came right beside Him in His vulnerable state and tempted Him 3 different times. How did Jesus respond? He quoted Scripture 3 different times to overcome Satanic opposition.
For example, in response to the first test of turning the stones into bread, Jesus responded this way in Mt. 4:4 – “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3).”
At the end of His public ministry and life, Jesus again faced a monumental test regarding His trust in God and in God’s ways for His life. Two of the last seven sayings of Jesus on the cross are direct quotes from the Book of Psalms.
The saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” is from Psalm 22:1 and appears in both Mathew’s and Mark’s passion narratives (Mathew 27:46, Mark 15:32). And in Luke 23:46, Jesus quotes the words of Psalm 31:5 while giving up His dying breath: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. If you read Psalm 22 and Psalm 31 in their entirety, you realize that they pertain to King David.
In both Psalms, David finds himself in situations which can be described as dire. On the surface, without faith in God, they seem to be near-impossible trials where deliverance is highly unlikely. But somehow, near the end of both Psalm 22 and Psalm 31, David came to the conviction that God will deliver and vindicate him. He will yet praise and serve the Lord in the land of the living.
On the cross, Jesus is also in a desperate situation. He is being tortured and mocked. But somehow He knows that He is going to be delivered and vindicated as well. He is the Son of David…….He is a descendant of the great King David.
But He is greater than King David. David was a shepherd boy when God called him to lead His people. David proved to be a good shepherd of both sheep and God’s people. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14) and in Hebrews 13:20, He is called the Great Shepherd.
Called To Be Formed and Directed By The Good Shepherd
And the deliverance and salvation that God effected through Jesus on the cross is a greater deliverance and salvation than David or any other Old Testament character experienced. Jesus was so steeped in the Scripture that He was confident that his heavenly Father was going to vindicate Him through His resurrection. Jesus knew that He would also justify and vindicate many through faith in Him.
We know that this was Jesus’ confidence not only through His quotations from the Books of Psalms but also from Jesus’ prophetic teaching in verses like Mathew 16:21 where he says He was going to suffer in Jerusalem and given over to death, but then, rise on the third day.
In the same way that Jesus placed His life and times in the hands of His heavenly Father, so we can place our life and times in the hands of our Lord. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, cares for His sheep. He is not like a hired hand who leaves at the first sign of trouble. But He lays down His life for the sheep.
His goodness is seen in this willingness. And His greatness is seen in His defeat of death and evil through the cross and the empty tomb.
No matter what we are going through……..No matter what we will go through, we can trust the Lord and yield our lives to Him. Whoever is willing to do this will not lose their real selves, but find their true selves. Both now in this life and in the next.
This is the Good News of Jesus Christ.
QOTD: What or who are you ultimately formed and directed by?