This message was preached by John Piper two weeks ago and can be heard or seen or read here.
What is the Mark of the Majesty of God that he wants me to see here?
Let’s look at Psalm 8. Jesus was saturated with the Psalms. You don’t quote a Psalm in your most excruciating suffering unless you are filled with meditation and delight in the Psalms. Jesus was.
The beginning and the end – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
LORD – is Yahweh, the name God gave to himself in Exodus 3:14. The meaning of Yahweh, most fundamentally is, “he is, absolutely.” So this is the thought in the main point of the Psalm, Psalm 8:1 and 9. Majesty is clearly the main point. Vv. 2-8 are giving a mark of God’s majesty. Two contrasts:
Contrast 1 – a contrast between his children
1b – you have set your glory above the heavens – God is high, he is great, his glory fills all.
2 – babies are introduced, weak, yet contrasting with the glory in the heavens. What are babies doing here? They are defeating the enemies of God.
What is the mark of majesty here: God, in his majesty, stoops to make babies (the weakest) the means of his triumphs over his enemies. Don’t miss the fact that God has enemies. The text doesn’t say why he chooses to use babies to still the enemy. He’s making weakness the means of triumph though he doesn’t have to. He stoops to make babies the instruments of his victory. God conquers his foes by the weakness of the weak.
Contrast 2 – vv. 3-8. V. 3 God is infinitely great. Man is infinitely small, like dust in the scales (v. 4). What are these humans doing here in a psalm about God’s majesty? Ruling the universe (v. 6). Man is the ruler of the universe, under God. The peculiar mark of the majesty of God is that he not only uses babies to defeat his enemies, he rules his world by the weakness of men.
He takes the weak things of the world and defeats his enemies. He takes the weak things of the world and rules his universe.
Turn to Matt. 21:1-16
Jesus is humble and majestic Zechariah 9:9.
It was not unusual for babies to be nursed at age 3 in those days.
Jesus quotes the LXX of Psalm 8:2 at this point. This is strange. The LXX fills the blank of what the infants are saying in Psalm 8:2 to say that the infants are saying praise to silence the enemy. What is Jesus saying when says this? 2 Things:
1. Psalm 8:2 is happening here. The enemies are silenced for the day and the children have the day. This is coming to its full expression as Christ arrives.
2. In choosing to go with the Greek version, in the OT context that is praise to God, Yahweh. And Jesus says, this is happening here as well. That is the jaw-dropper. The praise is for Yahweh, and Jesus is saying that that praise they are saying in this triumphal entry is said about Jesus.
So what’s the ultimate meaning of Palm Sunday – it’s Psalm 8. His name is Yahweh, but he is also known as another name, Jesus, who is majestic in all the earth. And he defeats his enemies by children. This mark of majesty will carry him to the garden of Gethsemane and then to the cross and the weakness of God will be stronger than the strength of man. The world will be conquered and a rulership will be established, and the Man, will be king and we men, in him will rule.
If you would have a strong savior, choose the crucified Christ. If you would be strong, be humble and weak and lean on and depend on Christ (Cf. Matt. 11:28-29). Come to the infinitely strong/weak Christ.
Reflections and Applications:
1. Wow. God is majestic to use the weak for his purposes. Though Piper did not mention the significance of being made in God’s image, that is surely a truth tied to the image of God, that man rules the earth. But the way it was presented here was humbling in a peculiar way, because we are weak and God intentionally limits his rule to be mediated through weak man. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is and so I praise him for that!
2. God is awesome and wants to use us in our weakness to exalt him, rule the earth, and silence his enemies. What a privilege.
3. I want the thought of my weakness to humble me and help me fight pride. I am weak and should not expect that God would use me because of me, but because of the peculiar mark of his majesty, not mine. Again, God is amazing.
4. I want to come to Christ and find my strength in him and depend on him and see his greatness and praise him in my weakness all the moments of my days.