A Violent Messiah?

Psalm 110 is one of the great messianic psalms, and one of the most quoted OT texts in the New Testament. On this side of the cross, we understand that it prophesies of Jesus’ second-coming.

It’s also quite offensive to postmodern cultural sensibilities. Especially the parts like, "He will fill [the nations] with corpses" (Psalm 110:6). Yikes! That’s violent. All this talk about thrones and conquerors and war sounds like Islamic fundamentalism. We much prefer a Prince of peace.

Which is ironic. Because when Jesus came the first time the “people of God” were not looking for a prince of peace or suffering servant. They were looking for a conquering king who would shatter the Roman Empire. Most of them missed him.

This is why our worldview and expectations must be shaped primarily by the Bible and not primarily by our culture and the prevailing chronological moods. Every cultural and current perspective is lopsided and distorted. And this usually makes Jesus a culturally offensive Messiah.

"The Son of Man is coming at an hour [we] do not expect" (Luke 12:40), and for many, in a manner they do not expect. We need to keep our heads clear so that we keep our lamps burning.

Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.