Psalm 2 is understood to function along with Psalm 1 as an introduction to the Psalter. The blessedness that begins Psalm 1 is picked up again at the end of Psalm 2, which helps you to see the two chapters functioning together. In fact, some Hebrew copies of the Psalms actually just combine Psalm 1 and 2 as one psalm. So Psalm 2 in one sense completes Psalm 1 and it does so by pointing our eyes towards Christ. This Psalm is one of the New Testament authors’ favorite passages because of how much it points to Christ.
1-3 What is a Messiah?
King David wondered why the Gentiles would foment against the Lord and his Anointed. The Hebrew word for “anointed” is the word that we get the title “messiah” from. A messiah is someone who has been anointed, usually for the purpose of declaring them as king. But the king that David is talking about is not himself. Peter and John later understood that David was actually looking forward to the risen Messiah, Jesus Christ (the Greek word for Messiah is Christ). How could the pagan kings stand against the advance of the kingdom of the risen Christ (Acts 4:24-27).
4-9 You Are My Son
The centerpiece of this Psalm comes in the decree v. 7- “The Lord has said to me, ‘you are my Son.’” Notice that the fact that the Lord himself spoke these words is part of the decree (Mark 1:11, 9:7, 2 Pet. 1:17-18). This is the Father’s declaration of the Son’s kingship and his intent for the Son to inherit all things (Heb. 1:5, 2:2-3).
The Davidic throne was a small picture of the true seed of David who was to come and who was to rule as the true king of Israel (Rom. 1:3-4). But Jesus Christ came to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One that none of his predecessors could have been.
He is the eternally begotten (John 1:14), the one born of the virgin Mary, the one whose glory was glimpsed at the transfiguration, who was the firstborn from the dead in his resurrection (Col. 1:18), the one who ascended into heaven and sat down on his throne at the right hand of the Father (1 Cor. 15:25), and the one who will come again at the end of history (Acts 1:10-11).
And so God laughs at any that would stand against this (v. 4-6) because their opposition is simply laughable. Instead, he turns to the Son and asks him, what would you like? And the Son’s answer is “the ends of the earth” (v. 8-9).
10-12 Kiss the Son
Given that this is the case, how should we then live? The answer is simple – kiss the Son (v. 12). And if you rankle at the idea of submitting to the Lord of all because of his great power, stop and remember how he achieved it. He achieved this status through his own selfless suffering and death, through his covenant kindness, and the complete giving of himself in love to a people that deserved none of this. His conquering power is his grace.
The declaration of the sonship of Jesus Christ has implications beyond just Jesus himself. Because we are united with Christ (Gal. 2:20) this sonship is something that extends to us (Rom. 8:16-17). The tree that Psalm 1 described is actually first a description of Jesus. After all, could you really provide the obedience described there? But it is secondarily you, because by faith you stand inside of Christ and share in his inheritance. And so it is with Psalm 2. The decree “you are my Son” is primarily spoken to Jesus. But for those who, by faith, stand inside Christ, that decree is a spoken to you as well. And remember that the decree includes audible spoken words of the Father – “This is my son.”