The first Psalm tells us that the man who meditates in the Word of the Lord day and night is blessed. But who is this man? You might have noticed that the Psalm contrasts the one righteous man (singular!) with the many wicked (plural!). Who is this one righteous man? Well, if we read the first two Psalms together (the Psalms aren’t in some sort of haphazard order, after all; and anyway, Psalms 1 and 2 originated as one psalm), the answer is very clear: we start off with ‘Blessed is the man’ (Ps 1:1) and end with ‘Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him’ (Ps 2:12). The one righteous, blessed man of Psalm 1, who meditates day and night in the Word of the Lord, is the LORD’s Son (Ps 2:7, 12) in whom we are blessed when we trust in Him. In other words, it’s Jesus!
Jesus is the true meditator. But if that’s the case why don’t the Gospels tell us about Jesus meditating? Well, they do – they just don’t use the word ‘meditate’! Usually what we see is the outflowing of His meditation upon the Word (e.g. Luke 2:46-52; 4:3-12): after all, meditation is solitary, so it’s only the fruit of meditation which tends to be seen by others.
A particular example of Jesus meditating is on the night of his arrest. With His disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The text reports that Jesus prayed (Luke 22:41-45). Yet this prayer, we can see, accompanied meditation. For Jesus, we are told, prayed concerning His Father’s will, the coming cup of God’s wrath which He would drink to the dregs in our place, and He was in ‘agony’. How does that show us that He meditated? Well, I’ll let Richard Baxter give you the answer to that:
Though his meditation be not directly named, but only his praying, yet it is very clearly implied; for his soul is first made sorrowful with the bitter meditations on his sufferings and death, and then he poureth it out in prayer.’ (The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, Chapter 13)
Jesus is the blessed righteous Man of Psalm 1 who mediates day and night in the Word of the Lord. So, if we’re to be like Jesus (Rom. 8:29), then we are to be conformed to the One who meditates day and night in the Word of the Lord. Christ is our example of how we are to respond to God’s Word with delight and meditation, and the more we are conformed to the image of Christ, as we grow in grace and holiness, the more we will grow in our delight and meditation in the Word of the Lord.
Not Just Our Example, But So Much More
Jesus is the ultimate Meditator. And so, as the ultimate Meditator, He is our example in meditation. But, as always, even in meditation, He’s so much more than our example. For believers are united to this ultimate Meditator. And so we meditate in union with Christ. In fact, that’s what makes true meditation possible. For meditation is not our work to climb up to God, but rather Jesus graciously stoops down to us and lifts us up into His meditation by His Spirit. Jesus is the Mediator of our Meditation (or the Meditator-Mediator, if your eyes can cope with the almost identical spelling!).
And that’s exactly what lies behind the command to meditate in the New Testament. It is because we are united to Christ and find our lives in Him, that we are set our mind on Christ and His Word:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:1-4)
Those who trust in Christ have been raised with Christ and have their lives hidden with Christ on high, so that we can now say ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal. 2:20). So it is Christ the Mediator-Meditator with whom we are raised to new life, who lives in us, and in whom are lives are hid. His life is a life of meditating day and night in the Word of God, and so our lives in Him are lives of entering into His gracious gift of meditation. The Christ who lives in us is the Christ who meditates in us: our meditation the Holy Spirit bringing us into Christ’s meditation. And so, we never meditate alone, but always united to Christ and in the Holy Spirit.
In saving us, God has ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 2:6). And so our meditation doesn’t take place at a great distance, somehow speculatively pondering far away things. No, our meditation takes place up close and personal. For we are united to Jesus and seated with Him in the heavenly places. In the words of an old Pentecostal chorus:
He lifted me up
Into heavenly places,
And His banner over me is love!
We can set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2), because we are seated in the places above in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). We have no need to fix our minds on, and fill our hearts with, the things of this earth, for our true life is not found on this earth, but seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.
So, it’s only Jesus, our Mediator-Meditator who makes meditation possible. And He really does make it possible, because He doesn’t just give us some ability for it, but rather, He gives us Himself, the true Meditator. ‘Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him’ (Ps 2:12).
(Next week, we'll think about what we should meditate on, and how to meditate. And, as we've got a few posts into this series, I thought it would be helpful to give you links to what we've looked at so far here at the bottom...)