Life Group Discussion Questions:
Week of August 9, 2020
This week for Life Group, we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to dig extra dig into the Scriptures. Our Psalm for this week is Psalm 110. In my years of ministry, I don’t ever recall anyone ever saying to me, “You know, Pastor; Psalm 110 is my all time favorite.” No, I doubt seriously that Psalm 110 ever makes it into anyone’s list of top ten favorite psalms. And yet Psalm 110 is by far and away the most quoted of the Psalms in the New Testament. Psalm 110:1 is either directly quoted or alluded to in some manner sixteen times in the New Testament. And it’s not simply this one verse. For some reason the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews found great inspiration from Psalm 110:4, as he quotes it directly in four places and makes reference to it in another three.
At the end of these questions, I’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a list of the references to both of these passages as they are found in the New Testament. You might want to take a moment to look these passages up and read the context in which they are found to give you some insight into why the New Testament authors found such inspiration from this psalm that is relatively unknown to modern Christians.
Now to some questions – frequently we speak of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. What does it mean to you for Jesus to be your Savior. Same sort of question, what does it mean to you for Jesus to be your Lord?
In addition to speaking of “Lord,” Psalm 110 uses royal imagery; making allusion to this Lord sitting on a throne, this Lord having a scepter, this Lord ruling, this Lord having power. This Lord sounds very much like a king. What are kings like? What do they do? How do they act?
Read Judges 21:25 and 1 Samuel 8:1-22. What do these passages tell us about kings? Is there any relationship between the two passages? What do they tell us about who is supposed to be king? After discussing that for a bit, read John 19:12-16. Pilate was the official representative of Caesar in ancient Palestine. In verse 15, Pilate asks an amazing question and the chief priests make an even more amazing response. Discuss the implications of their response.
Now Jesus may be your Lord, and Jesus may be your Savior, but is Jesus your King? What are the implications of having Jesus as our King? Who else might be king over us? Who are the pretenders to the throne of your life?
But we’re not done with Psalm 110. Psalm 110:4 speaks of one of the most enigmatic figures of the entire Bible, a person by the name of Melchizedek. Read Genesis 14:17-23 to get a snapshot of who this Melchizedek was. (For a more in depth understanding of Melchizedek was, read Hebrews 6:13—8:7. It’s a lot to read for a small group, but it’s worth it if you have the time.) The upshot of all this is that Melchizedek was a priest. What is your understanding of what priests do?
Regarding priests, one of the biggest differences between the Old Testament people of God and the New Testament church has to do with this business of priests. In the Old Testament, priests were the religious leaders. In the New Testament, the leaders of the church are NOT called priests; rather they are called elders, deacons, and bishops. Why do you suppose they no longer had a need for a priest? Again what is it that priests do? What is for Jesus to be your priest?
Finally, one of the objections raised by the religious leaders against Jesus being a priest was that he was NOT from the lineage of the Levites, who held the hereditary office of priesthood. The genealogy that would authenticate is right to be king (see Matthew 1:1-17), would serve to say that he could not be a priest, at least not a Levitical priest. The author of Hebrews points out (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 6:13—8:7) that Jesus comes from a different and better priesthood. Jesus is not a priest after the order of the Levites rather he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Given that Psalm 110 speaks about God’s ultimate plan for a king and ultimate plan for a priest, why do you suppose the authors of the New Testament referred back to this psalm that seems so obscure to us?
Think on this: What is for Jesus to be your only King? What is for Jesus to be your only Priest?
Psalm 110:1 – Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 10:12-13; Ephesians 1:22; Matthew 26:64; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 2:8; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22
Psalm 110:4 – Direct quotes found in Hebrews 5:5; 6:20; 7:17, 21 and allusions to it found in Hebrews 6:17-18; 7:24, 28.