When Jesus celebrated the last supper with His disciples they would have sung together the traditional four hallel psalms of Passover which are found in the Old Testament (Psalm 115-118), and Matthew in his Gospel specifically mentions singing a hymn. `And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives` (Matthew 26:30). This was the end of the Passover meal which had been like no other. Jesus had told His disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them and how he would be put to death, but it was all part of God`s great plan of redemption.
I imagine that the singing of Jesus was so heartfelt and full of meaning as He knew that Psalm 118 was about to be fulfilled. The crowd had shouted parts of it during the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. `And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10).
The original psalm describes a glad procession into Jerusalem after some great deliverance, but it`s not clear which occasion it was. It could have been the rebuilding of the temple or the walls of Jerusalem. Later it was sung at the Feast of Tabernacles as well as Passover. Jesus implied that it will be sung again at His second coming when He lamented over the state of Jerusalem and said `O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.`(Matthew 23:37-39).
During one of the many confrontations that Jesus had with the religious leaders of Israel He quoted part of Psalm 118, `The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone` to show them how wrong they were. God had chosen his people to be the `cornerstone` of His great plan for the world, and now that Jesus, the Messiah, had come it was all about to be fulfilled.
Psalm 118 opens and finishes with `Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever`, so the emphasis here is on thanksgiving and gives us words for many of our songs of praise and worship today. Verse 14 says, `The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation` and verse 17: `I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done`. Verse 24 has often been used by many Christians in times of praise and worship: `This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it`.
One day we will see the Lord face to face. Together we`ll sing Psalm 118. We`ll rejoice as we sing those words `Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord`, and `The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD`s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in It`.
Prayer: Dear Lord, You are the `cornerstone`. In You everything holds together and is supported. May we be found rejoicing in our salvation when You come again and continually giving thanks for all You`ve done. Amen.
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