This past Easter, my children found one of those memes showing a picture of Jesus’ tomb with the words “JK. BRB. -JC” written underneath it. That’s “Just kidding. Be right back. -Jesus Christ” for those who don’t speak emoji or meme. We all laughed at the joke, but I told them this sort of thing makes me really uncomfortable. Here’s why.
It isn’t that I think there’s no place for humor in the Easter story. I think there is. I laugh every time I read Pilate telling the Sanhedrin, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go and make the tomb as secure as you know how” (Mt 27:65). I think that line is meant to be funny.
My discomfort comes from how cavalier we can be with the things of God. We treat God with a sort of familiarity that leads us to describe Jesus as our buddy. We treat the Creator as though He is in on our joke. That’s the part that makes me uncomfortable.
We conclude this study of psalms for prayer with a messianic psalm—a psalm that points to the ministry of Jesus. Today’s psalm is a great antidote to an irreverent, casual way of thinking about and praying to God. It is a psalm that celebrates the gift of Jesus, and it does so by focusing on His power and glory. It is meant to draw from us both joy and fear.
This psalm predicts the coming of the Anointed One, against whom the nations will rage and plot in vain (Ps 2:2). It foreshadows Jesus’ baptism, when the Holy Spirit came to rest on the Lord as He stood in the Jordan River and a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him” (Ps 2:7; Mt 3:17). It calls worshipers to serve the Lord with reverence and awe because of His unmatched power (Ps 2:10-12).
As we thank the Father for the gift of the Son, the proper posture is not to come with jokes, memes, and clever observations. It is to come with “reverential awe and rejoice with trembling.” Why? Because the Jesus to whom we pray broke the power of sin and death by taking our guilt and dying the death we deserved to die. And every sad thing in our lives, every trouble that breaks our hearts, every pain that brings us low, every injustice that keeps our world divided, every catastrophe that indiscriminately wipes image bearers of God off the face of the earth will yield to His power and will cease to exist. For all eternity. World without end. Amen.
So with reverence and awe, thank God for the gift of His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ—the Holy and Anointed One of God.
Written by Russ Ramsey