The Messianic Hope in the Psalms

Gordon VanWylen

READ : Luke 24:39-49

For a few months during World War II, I attended a rather unique Bible study, led by a Navy physician. Each week, as we studied one or two psalms, we sought to identify the ways in which the psalm predicted or foreshadowed the person and work of Jesus Christ. The background for these studies was today’s reading, particularly Jesus’ words to his disciples, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms.” Luke then adds, “Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures.”

What a lesson this must have been, for there are fifteen places in the New Testament where a passage from the Psalms is interpreted as referring to Christ. We will bear this perspective in mind as we read psalms that have a rather clear Messianic message.

These earlier studies enriched my reading of the Psalms, making me sensitive to the possibility that Christ is prefigured in them. However, if one is limited to this perspective, one can miss the countless ways in which the Psalms open new vistas to our understanding of God, the beauty of creation, his care over us and how we can relate to him in the realities of our daily lives.


Gracious God, open our minds to comprehend the Scriptures as we journey through the Psalms this month. Amen.