Summary: Communion Meditation for Sunday, October 1, 2006
(1) A few years ago, I used Matthew 26:30 for a communion meditation. ‘Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.’ I remember asking ‘What kind of a hymn did they sing?’
I recently re-encountered this verse when I was preparing for another sermon and clicked on the verse note for it and read ‘It is possible that the hymn the disciples sang was from Psalms 115–118, the traditional psalms sung as part of the Passover meal.’ We just heard one of those Psalms read this morning.
(I also remind us that Passover was the time of remembrance and celebration for God’s deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt during the time of Moses. Passover refers to the ‘passing over’ by the Lord when He encountered a home that had blood from a sacrificial young lamb sprinkled on its doorposts as directed by the Lord to Moses and the people.)
(2) A couple of questions come to my mind regarding these 4 Psalms. ‘What did these Psalms mean to those who originally sang them during Passover?’ (3) ‘What does God say to us in these Psalms this morning as we prepare for Communion?’
Let’s first look at Psalm 115.
‘Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory
for your unfailing love and faithfulness.’ This Psalm is a psalm of acknowledging the Lord as the nation’s deliverer. ‘Not to us but to you, O Lord goes all the glory!’
(4) What did they sing? They sang that…..
(4a) God is our deliverer! Do you believe that this morning? I do! I do!
This song that Jesus and the disciples sang was a song that acknowledged that God, a divine power and not a human power, had delivered the Israelites out of bondage and injustice. That is what it meant back then and that is what it still means today.
God is our deliverer from our sin and our disobedience and rebellion of our sin! God is our deliverer from the injustice that we suffer and the unfairness that we experience as we live in this world for Him and walk with Him. Do you believe God is your deliverer?
What Jesus would soon do on the cross for all of humanity was more than just another act of deliverance; it was God’s greatest act of deliverance! (One more act of deliverance is coming and that is when Christ returns to re-establish His total control over the earth and usher in His eternal kingdom.)
So, Jesus and the disciples sang a song of deliverance that night! Today, we sing that same song of deliverance.
Then in Psalm 116 we read,
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours!
They also sang that…
(4b) God is merciful and kind.
The night on which Jesus would be betrayed, arrested, and crucified was not a night in which mourning and sadness were celebrated. It was a night when joy and victory were celebrated. It was the night when the Israelites would gather and remember how merciful and kind the Lord was because He had delivered their ancestors from the pain and suffering they had endured for many, many years.
As I think about this time being a time of thanksgiving and celebration, the thought occurred to me that those who brought charges against Jesus later that night probably thought they were doing God a favor by getting rid of a troublemaker. A troublemaker who, from their perspective later than evening, did not act like a God who would hear their cries of suffering and delivered in a very big way. Rather they thought that Jesus was anything but big because of the lack of power He demonstrated or they thought He should demonstrate.
Jesus and the disciples sang a song of praise to God because of His mercy and kindness demonstrated in a dramatic way many centuries earlier.
Moving to Psalm 117, we encounter the shortest Psalm of the four, just two verses long:
Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For he loves us with unfailing love;
the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord
Though this is the shortest Psalm of the four, it is a song of praise for God’s unfailing love! So Jesus and the disciples also sang that…
(4c) God is our greatest lover!
As many have learned in their childhood, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.’ But John goes on to say in the next verse, ‘God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.’
Christianity is a religion, a faith of love. Despite the fact that many, unfortunately, have been hurt in the name of Jesus, Christianity has liberated millions of people’s needs of all kinds. The love of God has been, and continues to be, a motivating force for many different acts of caring throughout the centuries.