Sermon: Discovering Christ in the Psalms: Christ, the Son of Man (Psalm 8)

Discovering Christ in the Psalms

Christ the Son of Man

Psalm 8:1-9 (ESV)

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

[2] Out of the mouth of babes and infants,

you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

[3] When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

[4] what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

[5] Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

[6] You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet,

[7] all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

[8] the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

[9] O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Before we begin our series on Discovering Christ in the Psalms, we must ask the question, Is Jesus even pictured for us in the Psalms? I mean, the Psalms were written about a thousand years before Jesus was even born.  When we do biblical interpretation we must be careful not to make the Scriptures tell us what we want to hear but we open them so that God can tell us what we need to hear.  Sometimes we like what we read and other times what we read can be very challenging.  Is Jesus meant to be found in the Psalms?  Or are we simply doing wrong interpretation, wanting to find Him there?  Is He there?

To answer the question about Jesus being pictured and foretold in the Old Testament and for our study, the Psalms in particular, we must turn to the New Testament book of Luke.

At the end of the Gospel of Luke right after the resurrection of our Lord, we see Jesus walking with His disciples.  Luke makes a very important comment as to the topic of their conversation…

Luke 24:27 (ESV)

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Then some days later, Luke tells us again what Jesus was teaching His disciples…

Luke 24:44-45 (ESV)

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  [45] Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Jesus’ teaching after His resurrection was focused, it seems, almost exclusively on how He was the main focus of the Old Testament writings.  It was only after the resurrection could His disciples fully understand His teaching.  It was only after the resurrection that Christ opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

This is very big for us today.  We also must read the Old Testament in light of Christ and the resurrection.  Only then will we understand the Scripture’s true meaning because He is its fulfillment.

As we begin looking to Christ in the Psalms I felt it best to have a logical flow through the next number of weeks.  Today we begin with the humanity of Christ.  God shows His love to us as He sends Christ to earth in human form.

1. The Majesty of the Messiah (8:1-2)

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

[2] Out of the mouth of babes and infants,

you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

I don’t know for sure what brought forth this outburst of praise from David.  He, no doubt, was considering creation, the stars and the amazing things on earth such as mountains and oceans.  As he thought about or actually saw these things, this Psalm was the result.  He may have even been lying on his back out in the wilderness one night looking up at the stars.  For David, creation reminded him of the majesty of the Creator.

We mustn’t let the opening phrase throw us.  David is exclaiming Oh Jehovah, our Ruler,. The first LORD denotes the title or name of God, the second shows His works as God.

Jehovah’s name is made more majestic as we consider creation.  So great is His name or being that even babes and infants praise God for His works.  Even little children see creation and say, “Wow”!

Here is a good example to how important it is to read these words in light of Christ.  It doesn’t mention Jesus in the first two verses…or does it?

Moving to the NT book of Matthew, we see Jesus in the temple.  He has just been healing the blind and lame people that were brought to Him.  As always the Chief Priests and Scribes didn’t like it much.  As the people witness Christ’s miracles in the temple, with amazement, the children begin praising God.

Matthew 21:14-16 (ESV)

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.  [15] But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant,  [16] and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

” ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies

you have prepared praise’?”

The Jewish leaders didn’t like it when the children began calling Jesus “Son of David” or Messiah.  It says that they became indignant because the children were acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah.  I bet they became even more indignant when Jesus quoted verse two.  They knew what He was saying, Not only does this praising of children mark Me as the Messiah but it also marks you as the enemy of the Messiah.

This quote very clearly shows that the works on earth Jesus did made His name even more famous and majestic.

So we have the stars and heavens, the things above praising the Lord.  We have the smallest children praising the Lord.  All of creation praises the Lord.

How good are we at praising Him?  I pray we would be a people of praise.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Our praise makes Jesus’ name famous.

2.  The Mindful Messiah

[3] When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

[4] what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

[5] Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

David considers the contrasting majesty between the heavens and mankind who is earthbound.  His thinking goes like this, If God is so powerful that He can create things like stars and planets, and they obey Him, it seems that a being as majestic as God would forget about the meek and lowly people He created.

But God doesn’t forget us.  He, in fact, cares for us.

These verses are important in declaring that our majestic and sovereign God is also a merciful and caring God.  To think that He thinks of us in a benevolent way is another trait that points to His majesty.  It’s another work of God that we can praise Him for.  Our King has decreed things for our good.  His laws are to benefit us.  His rule and reign will be a blessing to His people.  His covenant with us is proof that He is unchanging in His care for us.

God has taken steps down in order to think of and care for mankind in general and His covenant people in particular.

This is a wonderful thing, that God thinks upon men, and remembers them continually.—John Calvin

Verse four of our text in its original Hebrew uses a word that shows man in his ruined state.  What is helpless fallen man that You are mindful of him?

Do you see the contrast?  God is holy and magnificent, perfect in every way.  Mankind is ruined and fallen and imperfect in every way.

Not only does God think of man in his misery, but He goes a step further to meet man’s needs.  He cares for man.  Other translations declare that He visits man.

God takes another step downward to not only think of man but now care for fallen man.  Listen to what Spurgeon had to say on this topic, Will the Lord indeed put value upon filthiness, and fix his approving eye upon an impure thing?  One step further; what is rebellious man, man an enemy of God, that God should magnify him!—Charles Spurgeon

The question should arise, How is it that God thinks of and cares for fallen man?  In answering this question, we should turn to the Book of Hebrews and allow God Himself to give us the answer.

Hebrews 2:1-9 (ESV)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  [2] For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,  [3] how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,  [4] while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

[5] Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.  [6] It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

[7] You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

[8] putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  [9] But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

The writer of Hebrews declares to us that God fulfilled these verses in Psalm 8 by sending Jesus Christ to come to our aid.  God thought of mankind and cared for us when He sent Christ to earth.  The incarnation of Jesus Christ is the way in which God cared for rebellious sinners like us.  Do you see how this was yet another step down for God?

In this Psalm, we travel up to the heavens in splendor and beauty.  We glorify God because of His creation which points to Him.  We then are reminded by contrast of our own sin and imperfections.  Then, without a moment to waste, God comes running to meet our greatest need in Christ.  Jesus was incarnate, lived a sinless life, and died on a cruel cross for our sin.  Then He was exalted again.

The name Jesus called Himself more than any other name was the Son of Man.  It’s not by accident that He called Himself this.  He wanted all to understand that He was the Son of Man.

This is David’s entire point: God is Majestic and mankind is sinful and ruined.  His mind wonders, why would God spend so much and desire so much to save creatures like us who are so worthless.

3. Man’s Dominion Points to Christ’s Ultimate Dominion

[6] You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet,

[7] all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

[8] the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

[9] O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

In Psalm 8, David looks back to creation, and then through the power of the Holy Spirit, looks forward to Christ.

Genesis 1:26 (ESV)

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God gave mankind dominion over certain things in creation.  God gave Christ dominion over all things.  Jesus Christ becomes the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 8.

Paul, like the writer of Hebrews, saw this Psalm pointing ultimately to Christ.

1 Cor. 15:25-27 (ESV)

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  [26] The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  [27] For ” God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

Then we also have,

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

How did Jesus show that He had perfect dominion?

Think of all the miracles Christ accomplished.  He showed dominion when He calmed the sea, healed the lame and blind.  All His miracles showed that He was the ultimate fulfillment of this Psalm.

This Psalm also helps us realize that only in Christ will we reach our full potential in God’s economy.  Only in Christ will a fallen, sinful person be brought to glorify the Creator.

The key to interpreting Psalm 8 is to read it and understand it in light of Christ.  If we do, it becomes like a flower that bursts forth in bloom.

The majestic holy God descends to live with mankind.  He meets our deepest need as He gives Himself up for us all on the cross.  God is mindful of us, cares for us, and dies for us.

As David sang this song of praise, he praised God for His mighty acts that showed His majesty.  He praised Him for His benevolent love toward man.  The Son of Man came a thousand years later and perfectly fulfilled David’s song of praise.  May our lips sing praise to Christ the One in whom the Psalms points to.  Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man, our Lord and our Savior.  He is Majestic in all things.  He is mindful of us.  He cares for us.

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