When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Verse 30 (NIV)
Growing up I had a friend who was from a denomination that did not believe instruments were to be used in the church. He told me it was because there are no instruments mentioned in the New Testament and they were a new testament church. I am so thankful that the New Testament mentions singing as a part of our worship. By the way, the singing in that church could have really used some help from instruments.
We are not too far from Christmas celebrations. When Jesus was born, singing was everywhere. Angels burst into song, and shepherds near Bethlehem joined in. The Saviour had come to redeem the world from sin and suffering.
In our reading today we find that Jesus sang a hymn with his disciples as they were finishing the Passover meal (Matthew 26:17). Then, as they walked to Gethsemane, he told his followers they would all fall away, and he would be struck down. He was predicting that he would soon be arrested and sentenced to die. But then he said, “After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
How could Jesus be so confident of the outcome? The truth that Jesus lived daily was the truth that the Old Testament foreshadowed the salvific work of God. The song that was sung at the end of the Passover meal was likely the song that was traditionally sung at that point of the ceremony: Psalm 136, known as the Great Hallel. This psalm acknowledges God as Creator of all and as his people’s Redeemer. It rehearses God’s saving acts in the Old Testament and recalls that the Lord provides for us always.
Eugene Peterson’s rendition of Psalm 136:23-26 in The Message reads as follows:
“God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits. Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits. Takes care of everyone in time of need, His love never quits. Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits!”
Even when we fail, God remains connected to His people. Rejoice be glad we have been saved and been placed into God’s family. Look to him, know his love, live in his grace.
Thank you, Jesus, for dying and rising to life again for our sake. May we live confidently today, knowing that your love never fails. In your name we pray. Amen.