“His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1-4)
The truth of these words must have brought the disciples comfort as they walked to the garden, singing this refrain. It had been a strange and unsettling evening. What began as a joyous celebration commemorating God’s deliverance of His people from slavery had taken a much more serious turn over dinner . . .
Talk of betrayal and suffering,
bread being broken and wine poured out,
all pointing to death . . .
Something in Jesus’ manner was different tonight, and it left them uneasy. The comfort of these familiar words surely heartened them.
“His faithful love endures forever.”
Everything will be all right.
But for Jesus, the words were a reminder of why He had come and what He had to do. God’s faithful love endures forever, despite humanity’s sin and rebellion, and He was about to demonstrate the depth of His love once and for all . . . at an incredible cost….
Psalms 113-118 are known as the Hallel. (Hallel is Hebrew for “a joyous praise in song, to boast in God.) These songs were traditionally sung at Passover, as a reminder of God’s rescue of the Israelites from Egypt. In the Gospel accounts, at the end of the Last Supper, we are told that Jesus and his disciples “sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30 NLT) It is likely that what they were singing were these Psalms.
Gracefully Truthful’s Easter series was based around this idea – it contains a series of reflections on these Psalms, imagining the different ways Jesus and his disciples would have been responding to and reflecting on the words as they sang, with their different understandings and expectations about what was about to unfold.
I enjoyed writing the reflection based on Psalm 118:1-16 and found it fascinating to consider these verses in this new way.
I’d love it if you’d join me at Gracefully Truthful to read more!