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The Hallel Psalms and the Supper

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7 They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8 Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
9 O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.”
                                          —Ps. 115:1-9 (cf. Mk. 14:26)

Psalm 115 is part of the Hallel Psalms. Hallel means, “praise.” Jesus would have sung the Hallel Psalms (Ps. 113-118) with His disciples on the eve of Passover.[1] Psalm 114 speaks directly of the exodus. From a New Testament perspective, we know that the salvation which began in Egypt would be finally filled in and through Jesus. 

The Hallel Psalms were probably the last psalms Jesus sang before His suffering and death (Mk. 14:26). Jesus would have sung Psalm 115 knowing that He was Himself definitively showing God’s glory, love, and faithfulness. It is amazing also that Jewish people concluded the Hallel Psalms with the prayer:

“From everlasting to everlasting thou art God; beside thee we have no king, redeemer, or savior; no liberator, deliverer, provider; none who takes pity in every time of distress or trouble. We have no king but thee.”[2]

Truly! Apart from Messiah Jesus, there is no “no king, redeemer, or savior; no liberator, deliverer, provider.”

As we see in Psalm 115, idols are inept but God is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness. Whereas idols are inept God is involved. In fact, so involved that He came to this broken world in the form of Jesus Christ.

Idols are silver and gold but God came in flesh. Jesus has a mouth and with it, He spoke words of life. Jesus has eyes, and He saw this broken world and wept. Jesus has ears, and He heard the world’s bitter cries. Jesus has a nose, and He smelled the putrid smell of death. Jesus has human hands, and they were pierced. Jesus has feet, and they carried a cross, and were pinned to a cross. Jesus has a throat, and with it, He cried out: “my God, my God, why have Thou forsaken Me?!”

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The Triumphant Entry

“This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank You that You have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O LORD!
O LORD, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and He has made His light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to You;
You are my God; I will extol You.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever!”
                                   —Ps. 118:20-29 (cf. Matt. 21:1-11)

In Matthew’s passage about the Triumphant Entry, he quotes from and links to Psalm 118. It is likely that Jesus sang this Psalm, along with the other Hallel Psalms (Pss. 113-18), with the disciples after He instituted the Lord’s Supper (Mk. 14:26). That’s not surprising since Psalm 118 highlights God’s steadfast love and has many Christ connections. 

Psalm 118 talks about the gate that the righteous enter through to go into the presence of God (v. 20). That is not a gate that we can open on our own because we cannot be righteous on our own (Rom. 3:10). Actually, the Bible says even the best we can do on our own is like filthy rags (Is. 64:6). We need the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:19-22). Jesus is the gate that gives us access to God the Father (Jn. 14:6), He is the one that makes us righteous. 

Jesus was the rejected stone (Matt. 21:42) but He is the Messiah, the cornerstone (Ps. 118:22). All promises rest upon Him (2 Cor. 1:20). When Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, the people cried out: “Hosanna! Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (Matt. 21:9). The people spoke better than they knew. They cried out to Jesus who is God in flesh to save—and He soon would. He would fulfill their prayer to save by answering the next cry of the crowds, that He be crucified.

The Psalm says, “The LORD is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us” (Ps. 118:27). Truly. God in flesh dwelt among us. And yet He was the “festal sacrifice” (v. 27). Jesus is finally triumphant not by overthrowing the Roman government but by overthrowing Satan, sin, and death through His death and resurrection.  

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An Easter Devotional

I wrote the blog series, “Psalms of our Suffering Savior,” to help us “remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (2 Tim. 2:8).

It is to be used devotionally leading up to Easter (Resurrection Sunday). It is a 12-day devotional that starts with the Triumphant Entry and goes through to the Ascension of Jesus Christ.[1]

In these devotions, we’ll be looking at Psalms that express Jesus’ experience. Jesus “saw in the experiences of David the pattern, writ small, of his own calling.”[2] And as Jesus said, in Luke 24:44 “the Psalms must be fulfilled.”[3]

These devotionals will help us see how it is that Jesus fulfilled the Psalms.[4] And it is quite amazing to see.

Remember many prophets and righteous people longed  to see what you see” (Matt. 13:17)! So, let’s intentionally celebrate and “remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead”! 

If you’re interested in this devotional series, like the Facebook page here or follow the blog via email (look to the right under the search bar) and receive the devotionals that way.

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“Lower Still” by My Epic

Look, he’s covered in dirt
The blood of his mother has mixed with the Earth
and she’s just a child who’s throbbing in pain
from the terror of birth by the light of a cave

now they’ve laid that small baby
where creatures come eat
like a meal for the swine who have no clue that he
is still holding together the world that they see
they don’t know just how low he has to go
Lower still

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Jesus, Rebel With A Cause

I’ve been studying about Jesus’ crucifixion and what led up to His crucifixion in preparation for a devotional blog series called “Psalms of our Suffering Savior.” And I’ve been reminded that Jesus was a rebel, but not like James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Jesus had a cause. Actually, we might say He had a lot of causes. Of course, if we left off thinking Jesus was merely a rebel with a cause we’d be gravely mistaken. He’s much more than that. It is, however, still important that we not forget that He was indeed a rebel. 

How was Jesus a Rebel?

This is an important question to ask, in part, because “People didn’t get crucified for being gentile or spiritual or for saying their prayers. They got crucified for being understood to be rebels.”[1]

Jesus was a rebel because…

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Set Us Free

Paradise,
polluted and poisoned.

Our resounding plea:
“Set us free.”

We are writhing and reeling from the Fall.

Our affections wander and wane,
our struggles remain.

O’ Lord set us free.

We fettered our shackles,
we tossed the key.

But O’ Messiah, set us free.

 

 

Heaven’s Hope

Bound by sins darkened glow
In this world of pain and woe

Helpless, hopeless to us He came
And in the midst was slain

Darkest night, the Light extinguished
Will we forever captives be?

Messiah’s mission ends in death?
Where’s the hope of life and peace?

But by power He awaketh
All of death He did breakth

By His death, deaths defeated
Sins depleted of its power

Thus the hour of unrest
Has become our hope, our joy, our rest

For in Christ’s death,
Deaths defeated!

Yes, He burst the bonds that bound Him
And leads many captives in His wake

Yes, from the cross He is victorious
And all of heaven hails He’s glorious!

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