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Christmas Psalm: Psalm 110:1–4

The LORD says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The LORD sends forth from Zion

your mighty scepter.

Rule in the midst of your enemies!

Your people will offer themselves freely

on the day of your power,

in holy garments;

from the womb of the morning,

the dew of your youth will be yours.

The LORD has sworn

and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever

after the order of Melchizedek.”

– Psalm 110:1–4

It’s Christmas! Hallelujah!

This is that day according to the psalmist, in my humble estimation, that “the LORD makes his enemies a footstool.” It’s on this day we dedicate to celebrating the arrival of Jesus, the Mighty Scepter from Zion, that signals the beginning of the end for Satan and his minions. The arrival of this God-child begins to fulfill for us, the countless messianic prophecies scattered throughout the Old Testament texts.

So, what does he do with this footstool?    

He rules in the midst of his enemies.”

Rule in the midst of his enemies? Is that what comes to mind to us when Jesus really starts running the show? I’d probably go with more of a Luke 9:54 kind of response, and bring on the fire! But, of course Jesus rebukes his disciples for that and moves on, allowing his enemies to remain unharmed, and he does it for the simplest of reasons, even if it doesnt make a lot of sense to us.

We are all enemies of God. Or, at least some of us were enemies, rolling around in the dirt and mud of sin before Christ. If we’re honest, even though we are fully and without fail reconciled back to God, a sizable enough piece of the enemy remains in us to fight on against that new nature. So at times, it can feel like Jesus is ruling in the midst of his enemies, even at (GASP!) church.

Jesus not only is fated to rule in the midst of his enemies, he prefers it. Jesus rules this way because he has an annoying habit of making enemies into brothers and sisters. He has a habit of giving out abundant amounts of grace that softens even the hardest hearts. I think we all know that to be true. I’d gather that we’ve all had one of those Apostle Paul moments from 1 Timothy 1:15. We’ve all had a, “Of all the sinners, I am without a doubt the worst sinner Lord.”

As much we’d like to put God in a box of our own understanding, we know we can’t. We want to think because he’s allowed things like logic to exist, that he naturally operates in that same logic. But he stands outside it all, and when he enters into humanity, there is no reasonable logic to understand about any of his actions. The God of the universe does the contrary to what should happen as a natural and logical action. Bad people deserve to be punished. God instead decides they are worthy to be saved. Fine, if bad people are going to be saved, let them earn it. They should pay their debt to God. Give them some kind of installment plan, so we know they’re serious. God instead decides to pay their debt off.

A free ride all the way, and sometimes even Christians don’t like it, depending on who’s getting in. We all have moments where we start measuring someone’s salvation on a sliding scale. I still measure my own that way at times, much to my own disappointment.            

But this is how God has decided to operate:

God in the person of the Son, comes and rules in the midst, because he saves in the midst as well.

When Jesus does this, when his makes his enemies his friends, those former enemies will;

offer themselves freely

on the day of your power,

in holy garments;

What makes an enemy, a friend to God?

Holy garments of Righteousness.

Fabric bound together by a Master Tailor on a cross-shaped table, who’s artistry is impeccable and without flaw.                 

When Jesus’ gracious and merciful rule turns enmity away and brings hearts back to God, they are clothed in his holy garments. They are covered in the robe of his righteousness. Hidden away now is the sinner they used to be. Hidden away now is the sinner they still are. I only know this, because the sinner in me does more than simply peek out from behind this spotless white garment at times, but even when he does, my trust is that I am covered once and for all, loved and accepted by no merit of my own, but by Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection from the grave.

Christ born this day, celebrated for what he comes to do. He does it as our King and our great priest! This is why the psalmist says:

“You are a priest forever

after the order of Melchizedek”

Melchizedek was both ruler and priest for his people, and that is what Jesus is, but he is even more that. As much as he is the high priest that initiates the sacrifice for his people, he made himself the actual sacrifice as well. No other priest could give as much as Christ gave for his people, and no one would ever have to. That final Lamb of God was big enough to lay upon it the sins of the entire world. All of it paid for with three nails and a crown of thorns.  

Just as Jesus is the better version of King David, and any other good and just ruler, Jesus is also the better priest, making a sacrifice so perfect that it needs never be repeated again. It is as if the mantel of our doors are perpetually covered in the lamb’s blood. We are forever passed over by the Spirit’s wrath.

All this because an unconventional God, doing illogical things, for an undeserving people, became a weak and helpless little child, to set in motion the salvation of the world planned out since the foundation of all things.

That’s what we celebrate this day.

Merry Christmas.

God’s peace to you.

Amen.

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