2007-11-10 - Singing Unto Suffering
Psalm 113:1, Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord.
In the time of Jesus, it was the custom of the Jews to sing Psalms 113-118 at the time of Passover. Psalms 113 and 114 would be sung when the Passover began, and then 115-118 were usually sung in the closing of the Passover. We might think then that our Lord sung these words, "Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord," when he gathered with His disciples on the Passover before His arrest, trial and crucifixion. When they partake of the Lord's Supper together in Matthew 26, we have recorded in verse 30 that, "And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." There is every reason to think that they sang Psalm 113 and/or 114 at this time.
This took place just before Jesus went to Gethsemane. It is hard to imagine Jesus singing with His disciples before He underwent the agony of Gethsemane, but it is what we are told. Maybe they sang the entire group of Psalms together. Can you imagine our Lord singing joyfully Psalm 118:22-24, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it," on His way to the cross? It is speculation to be certain, but to do so would have been keeping with Jewish tradition of the time, and Jesus did honor many of the traditions of the time. Imagine Him close with His disciples, singing the last verse of Psalm 118, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting." It may give us some insight into His resolution in going to His suffering. He goes with praises.
There is much to consider here, but maybe most prominent respects our attitude when we undergo affliction. We have here the example of our Savior in the first stages of His suffering. He is singing with those closest to Him. They would all soon scatter and leave Him, but now He is giving them a taste of their unity together. They would be able to look back on this time and gain strength. We also can take strength in our difficult times, from what we are told here. Our sufferings are real, and our afflictions weigh us down, but they are nothing compared to what our Lord underwent. When we consider how Jesus underwent His suffering, when we consider his frame of mind, His praise in the midst of great hardship - how can we not, in our trials, seek to patiently endure while always giving thanks and praise to the Lord?
Soli Deo Gloria,