The Sequel

Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 110:1:

“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’”

In movies, there’s one rule of thumb that practically everyone agrees on: “The first movie is always better than the sequel.” And I can generally agree with that. Take Disney cartoons—can you name one that actually had a good sequel? Cinderella 2? Mulan 2? My favorite movie ever, The Emperor’s New Groove, had the worst sequel ever: Kronk’s New Groove. I shudder at the thought. And as if Bambi wasn’t bad enough with its dripping and dropping of April showers (now stuck in your head), they decided to make a second!

But I’ve actually found that there are a lot of sequels I like. In fact, for some reason, I tend to like the second movie best. The Two Towers. Catching Fire. Prince Caspian (I know, perish the thought). National Treasure 2. Night at the Museum 2. And on and on it goes. Sometimes visiting those characters a second time is just as refreshing as the first, if not better—so long as the same actor plays the same character. Grr. Nothing bothers me more than when a character is played by a different actor! In the newest Batman trilogy, poor Rachel Dawes (Batman’s love interest in the first two films) totally has a bad surgery between movies and ends up looking totally different in The Dark Knight. I couldn’t get over it. Sorry, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Just…don’t.

This whole idea of sequels being bad is not a modern invention. Yes, I know the medium of film is modern, but people have been complaining about follow-ups to stories for a long time. Yes, even back in AD 30 when a Man named Jesus walked this earth in the land of Judea.

Say what? Yes, Jesus claimed to be building the “sequel” to the Old Testament. He was claiming to be the Messiah prophesied all over the prophets—the fulfillment to the Law of Moses. But the religious rulers of the day did not like this sequel. They thought it didn’t ring true to the original—Jesus wasn’t keeping the laws how they thought He should. He wasn’t doing things the way they did in the Old Testament. Jesus said, “You have heard it said in old time…but I say to you…” This made them upset. “He’s changing everything—He’s messing up the way it’s always been!”

And, boy, did they really get mad when He claimed to be God Himself! Picking up their stones, they angrily complained that God was being “played” by a different “actor.” Some knock-off blasphemer. Surely it couldn’t be possible! “Who does this Man think He is, changing up everything in our precious Scriptures!”

So Jesus used Old Testament passages to prove He was speaking the truth. To prove that He was indeed the true sequel—the true fulfiller of the Old Testament. And one of the passages He used was Psalm 110—perhaps the most obvious Messianic Psalm in all of Scripture. In it, David says the “LORD” was speaking to his “Lord” and told Him to sit at His right hand till He destroyed His enemies. Confused? Ya, that’s because these two are the same Person ultimately—the same Lord! And this is a Messianic prophecy. Christ Jesus is the Son of God, yet God Himself at the same time! This is one confusing verse and doctrine—yet amazing and jaw-dropping at the same time. Even from the Old Testament, the Messiah was proclaimed as the “Lord.”

But the Pharisees couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see past the changes He was making. Blind to every prophecy He was fulfilling, they were so caught up in the “way things were”—the “good ol’ days”—that they accused, deceived, and ultimately killed the Lord Himself! The One they said they worshipped…

Jesus is not some knock-off of the Old Testament. He isn’t some lame sequel that tries too hard to build on the previous. He is not a new actor doing a poor job at filling the role of God.

HE IS GOD.

The authority of Christ is something every Christian claims to hold to, but often we’re just like the Pharisees in the way we live. We don’t see Jesus as our “Lord” when we choose to lust instead of live for His pleasure. When we choose to sleep rather than study. When we choose to say cruel words behind someone’s back rather than share the Gospel with a neighbor. We can stand in church and sing, “He is Lord!” while thinking of how much we despise the person in front of us. We can teach a lesson on how kids should make Jesus their Lord and afterwards complain about the pastor’s leadership. In church, out of church, we don’t make Jesus our Lord in deed or in truth.

If Jesus truly is the Lord of your heart, shouldn’t He be Lord of your life? Instead of a Savior you push aside like a second-rate sequel. Like the Pharisees did.

In this case, the rule of thumb is false: the Sequel to the Old Testament is just as glorious as the original. That’s because the God of the Old Testament is the Suffering Savior of the New. And through all history, He is Lord.

-Matthew W., SC

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