Psalm 118 and the Last Song Jesus Sang Before His Death

As Jesus concluded the Passover meal with his disciples there is a verse that is nearly always left out of the readings when this is read in sermons and at the Lord’s Supper. The verse right after Jesus finishes instituting the Lord’s Supper is this,

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

It seems insignificant…like throw away words but these words tell us something highly significant. Because we know this was a Passover meal (Matt 26:17-19) we know certain things about this meal including how the meal ends. The meal ends in singing and the songs that are sung are the Hallel psalms (Psalm 113-118). The Hallel psalms talk about God who helps the needy and God who delivered their ancestors from the Exodus. That is why these psalms are sung. The Hallel psalms conclude with Psalm 118. I can only imagine Jesus knew all that was about to happen down to the finest detail. As you read Psalm 118 pay close attention to the details and to what is about to happen to Jesus as this was probably the last song Jesus sang before his death (aside from pushing out the opening line of Psalm 22 on the cross),

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Imagine Jesus, in his mind’s eye, imagining the events that are about to unfold as he defiantly sings this victory song…Imagine him singing, “O give thanks to the Lord for He is good…his steadfast love endures forever” as Judas walks to the high priest.

Imagine him singing, “Out of my distress I called on YHWH” as Jesus imagines his walk to the garden where he will cry out to God for a cup that will not pass from him.

Imagine him singing, “With the Lord on my side I do not fear – what can mortals do to me?” seeing the soldiers arrest him, bind him, beat him…

Imagine him singing, “Yhwh is on my side to help me – I shall look in triumph on those who hate me” as Jesus pictures his trial.
Imagine him singing “It is better to take refuge in YHWH than to put confidence in mortals” knowing his disciples will abandon him.
Consider Jesus singing these words, “All nations surround me…surround me on every side…like bees they blazed like a fire of thorns” envisioning the soldiers all around him, mistreating and abusing him…putting a crown of thorns on his head and leading him to Golgotha.
Imagine Jesus and the disciples singing, “I was pushed so hard, so that I was falling” as Jesus envisions carrying and falling with his cross over his shoulders.
Imagine the upper room filled with these lyrics, “But the Lord helped me – the Lord is my strength and my might, he has become my salvation” as Jesus anticipates uttering his last words “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

How hard would it be to sing, “There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous…I shall not die but live…the Lord has punished me severely but he did not give me over to death…or…This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes – this is the day the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it”? when you know all that is about to happen?

Through singing this song, Jesus shows us what it is like to stick your thumb in the eye not just of the empire but of Satan himself who will not get the best of the people of God. Instead we sing in the tension. We sing in complete defiance because we know who is truly in charge and we know victory is coming. Praise the Lord!

Organization and the Church Family

I remember being newly married and getting back from our honeymoon. Although we had little cash we had lots of freedom. Going places and doing things didn’t require a lot of organization. You could jump in the car on a moment’s notice without an awful lot of planning. Then come the children. Children bring aContinue Reading

What the United Airlines Debacle Has to Teach Us About the Importance of Context

We live in a world of instant and instant means that context gets kicked to the curb because exploring context takes time and that means instant is impossible to achieve. Take what happened the other day on the United Airlines flight. The first thing we saw were the videos. They came from multiple angles andContinue Reading

Playing Chess With God

Sometimes life feels like playing chess with God. I am sitting on one side of the table trying to play both hands. Seated across from the Creator of the universe I strategize…figuring out what my next moves are going to be while also attempting to determine what God’s next moves are going to be AtContinue Reading

Improving Theological Discourse – My Neighbor is Not an Object

There are some circles where theological discourse is as healthy as ever while in other places people are rabid and vicious. Paul addressed this among the Galatian Christians in Galatians 5, “If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” (5:15). Right before that Paul wroteContinue Reading

The Obedience/Evangelism Disconnect

If our salvation were to be contingent upon getting every jot and tittle just so then would one be lost if they disobeyed the Great commission? Technically the Greek there isn’t an imperative but over and over again we understand the Christian mission to be one of going and telling. There is no more importantContinue Reading

Jesus Inaugurates the New Creation Via the Holy Spirit

I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit lately. One of the connection points that I have been looking into is the Spirit’s role in Creation and His corresponding role in New Creation. First is the Spirit’s work in God’s original creation. In Genesis 1:2 we see the Spirit of God hovering overContinue Reading

Our Need for a Biblical View of the Holy Spirit: 4 Reasons We Neglect the Spirit

Can you imagine neglecting Jesus or the Father in your teaching or preaching? Imagine a church that never said a word about either the Father or the Son. Would you want to be a part of a church that never brought them up? Why is it that we rarely talk about the Spirit of God?Continue Reading

Jesus as an Illustration to Understand the Holy Spirit

Imagine yourself in a crowded street in Galilee. Jesus is there and you have found yourself swept up in a crowd of onlookers who have heard Jesus is on his way into town and a rush of people have gone out to see him. Through the bobbing heads and undulating crowd you spot him. JesusContinue Reading

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Creation and New Creation

The creation of the world was a Trinitarian event. The Spirit hovered, the Father spoke and the Son, who was and is the Logos/Word (John 1:1-3) was the agent of the creation of the universe (Col 1:15-20), “15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him allContinue Reading

Follow

Follow this blog

Email address