O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

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Posted in Compassion, Easter, Forgiveness, Grace, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, Mercy, Music, Sin, Suffering | 2 Comments

Maundy Thursday

Christus wäscht dem heiligen Petrus die FüßeAs Jesus talked with His disciples the night before He died on the cross (John 13–16), He spoke to them about who He was and what their life was to be as His disciples. He reassured them of His continuing presence and care in His sending of the Holy Spirit even as He told them what the world would do to them because they were His.

He also spoke with them about how they were to live with each other and gave them two commands—only two—and each is significant. He began by washing their feet—an act that was the work of a slave.

“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.””
John 13:12–17

Don Carson writes:

“A quick reading of John 13:1–13 (some prefer to think of John 13:120 as the basic unit) shows that the episode of the foot washing is turned in two directions. On the one hand, it is symbolic of spiritual cleansing (cf. especially vv. 810); on the other, it serves as a standard of humble service and therefore as a call to all of Jesus’ disciples to ‘wash one another’s feet’ (vv. 12-17).”1

Humble service is the first command, taught by example and then explained though His words. The second command He taught by His words, and the next day His disciples would see those words explained by His example.

FishNecklace“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

Remember that at other times they had heard Jesus speak of the greatest command to love God, and the second, to love their neighbor. As He talks with them that night, Jesus soon repeated His new command, setting the standard for their love for each other.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
John 15:12-14

That same evening He prayed:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.2

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
John 17:20-23

In “The Mark of a Christian” I tell the story of how a kind and loving Christian gave me the fish pendant above. I also write about the sad reality of those times when Christian love is as broken and cracked as the ἰχθύς wheel symbol on the left. You would think that the last two things Jesus commanded on the night before He died would be taken soberly and seriously by His disciples and obeyed. Alas, they are not.

We have lived in different cities and in very different regions, but everywhere we have too often seen church after church marred by a lack of service—remember that Jesus did the service of a slave—and a lack of love: unkindness, jealousy, arrogance, coldness and apathy to the needs of others. Not just the people, but the leaders within the Christian church have had same ideas about being great and being first that the disciples had when they squabbled about prestige and power in the kingdom of God. Rather than take the Scripture seriously about how to live and care for one another, far too many in the church draw their template from the surrounding culture. The ironic thing is that some within the business community recognize the importance of authenticity, generosity and kindness, while Christians seem to have never heard of them, much less be on terms with the fruit of the Spirit. We should not be churches rife with favoritism who say ‘be warm, be filled’, but we are.

If the church is in any doubt as to what it means to love one another, Jesus gave us His example, and Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 described the attitudes and actions of love as he gave us characteristics we can see and recognize—characteristics that obviously flow from within—from a changed mind and heart.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13

Maundy Thursday is named for the New Commandment:

“Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English, and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”)…”3

The name of this day bears the mark of His command. Isn’t it time our lives were marked by it as well? Many churches have a Good Friday service during which they remember our Lord’s crucifixion. Perhaps a Maundy Thursday service should be considered as a time during which Christians in a local church would commit themselves to humble service to one another and to laying-down-life love for one another.

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Giovanni Giuliani, Christus wäscht dem heiligen Petrus die Füße (Christ washing the feet of saint Peter). Cropped from a photograph by Wolfgang Sauber. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Ichthus (the ΙΧΘΥΣ) Wheel in Ephesus: public domain via Wikipedia.
The wheel is an overlay of the uppercase letters, ΙΧΘΥΣ. The fish has been a Christian symbol since the early years of the church. The Greek word for fish is an acrostic; each letter is the first letter of one of the five words of the phrase: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior: ͑Ιησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ ͑Υιός Σωτήρ.
1D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 458.
2Francis Schaeffer said the love of Christians for one another is The Mark of a Christian, and in the book he wrote by that name he called John 17:21, The Final Apologetic.
3Wikipedia, Maundy Thursday.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Christian Life, Church, Doctrine, Easter, God, Jesus Christ, Love, Sin, Trumpets | Leave a comment

Psalm 118: Passover & The Cornerstone

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:22–23

Psalm 118 is in Book V of the Psalms and is the last psalm of the ‘Egyptian Hallel.’ Derek Kidner wrote:

A short run of psalms used at the yearly Passover begins here [at Psalm 113], and is therefore commonly known as the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ (Hallel means Praise). Only the second of them (114) speaks directly of the Exodus, but the theme of raising the downtrodden (113) and the note of corporate praise (115), personal thanksgiving (116), world vision (117) and festal procession (118) make it an appropriate series to mark the salvation which began in Egypt and will spread to the nations. By custom, the first two psalms are sung before the Passover meal, and the remaining four after it. So these were probably the last psalms our Lord sang before His passion (Mk. 14:26), and Psalm 118 had already made itself heard more than once in the confrontation of the previous few days. There was more relevance in these psalms to the Exodus—the greater Exodus—than could be guessed in Old Testament times.”1

Kidner referred to Psalm 118 having made itself heard during confrontations in the previous days. If you look in the Gospels, you’ll find records of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees during Holy Week. After telling the parable of the vine-growers killing the son of the vineyard owner (cf. Matthew 21, Mark 12 and Luke 20), Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22–23:

“Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

“Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief cornerstone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.”
Matthew 21:40–46

At the end of His formidable indictment of the Pharisees Jesus quoted Psalm 118:26:

“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Matthew 23:38–39

Jesus knew Psalm 118 referred to Himself, and not only that, He told the Pharisees this through His use of this psalm. Leslie M’Caw and J. A. Motyer pointed this out about Psalm 118:22:

“Isaiah (28:16) uses identical terminology about God’s promises to David: it was the error of Hezekiah at that time to seek military security rather than the security of trusting the promises. In standing by His promises, God chooses the stone which the worldly-wise rejected. Cf. Dn. 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Zc. 3:9; 4:7. Stone was obviously in common use as a symbol of Davidic monarchy and a Messianic term.”2

Now think about that for a moment. Jesus knew this. The Pharisees and other religious leaders knew this. He was clearly telling them He was Messiah, and they knew this. Psalm 118 was the final psalm of Passover, and now the Passover Lamb Himself quoted it as He confronted them. Not only Jesus, but the Pharisees themselves would have sung this psalm after Passover, and they, themselves, would have remembered His words.


I am in awe as I think of His use of this psalm timed as it was both to confront and to emphasize who He was as they ate the Passover meal, and that it was probably the last psalm He sang before He as our Passover Lamb went out to face arrest, trial and crucifixion so that death would pass over those of us who believe in Him.

Take the time to read Psalm 118.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 118:1


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Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Corner Stone (Le pierre angulaire), James Tissot, No known copyright restrictions.
Agnus Dei, Francisco de Zurbarán: Public Domain.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150, p. 401. Psalm 118:26 is also quoted in the Gospels in their record of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and Jesus quoted it earlier in His ministry (cf. Luke 13:35).
2Leslie S. M’Caw, J. A. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 526.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:

“ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.”

Original content: Copyright ©2011–2017 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, God, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, Lovingkindness, Mercy, New Life, Sin, Suffering | Tagged | Leave a comment

Death & The Passover Lamb

The Signs on the DoorThen Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.”
Exodus 12:21–24

Exodus 11–12 describes the last of the ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt. The final plague is also the best known of the ten—the death of the firstborn of both people and cattle.

“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.”
Exodus 12:12

In Exodus 11 and 12, God gave explicit instructions for the first Passover: the Hebrews were to put the blood of a slain, unblemished male lamb on the two doorposts and lintel of their homes.

“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 12:13

“Now it came about at
midnight that the LORD
struck all the firstborn in
the land of Egypt, from the
firstborn of Pharaoh who
sat on his throne to the
firstborn of the captive who
was in the dungeon, and all
the firstborn of cattle.

“Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.”
Exodus 12:29–30

And Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to “get out from among my people,” and go.

It is no coincidence that Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Passover, because the Passover lamb of Exodus was a type of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the word lamb in the New Testament almost always refers to Christ.

If you’re not familiar with the terms type and antitype, Edmund Clowney explains them as anticipations of God’s final salvation in Christ in his discussion of Peter’s reference to Noah in 1 Peter 3:

“Peter continues to relate the time of Noah to that of the church by appealing to typology. The inspired authors of the New Testament find in the Old Testament history not merely instances of God’s saving power, but also anticipations of his final salvation in Christ. By providing the ark, God saved Noah and his family from the judgment of the flood. That deliverance, however, did not in itself give eternal life to the eight persons that were spared. Like the exodus liberation, it was a symbol of God’s final salvation from all sin and death. Peter uses the term ‘antitype’ to describe the relation of the new to the old. (3:21; NIV’s verb symbolizes translates the Greek noun antitypos). This use of ‘type’ and ‘antitype’ is itself figurative, drawn from the striking of coins or the impression of seals. ‘Type’ describes either a matrix from which an impression is made or an image created. In the letter to the Hebrews, the typology is vertical. That is, the heavenly realities are called the ‘type’ and the earthly symbolizes the ‘antitype’. The tabernacle in the wilderness was therefore the antitype of the heavenly sanctuary. In Paul’s letters and here in 1 Peter, the typology is horizontal in history: the Old Testament is the type, and therefore Christ’s fulfillment is the antitype.”1

The Passover lamb anticipated the Lamb of God. The Passover lamb was slain so that God would pass over the people of a house marked with blood and not visit them with a judgment of death. This week we remember the death of the Lord Jesus for His people and celebrate His Resurrection. God does not visit us with the judgment of death we deserve for our sins because Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, was slain for us.

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29

Agnus Dei

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James Tissot, The Signs on the Door.
J. M. W. Turner, First Born Plague
Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Death of the Pharaoh’s firstborn son (Ex. 12:29).
Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei.
1Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1988) 164–165.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, God, Grace, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, New Life, Sin | Leave a comment

The Events of Holy Week

“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.”
Acts 2:32 (ESV)

In the New Testament we have the record of eyewitnesses—eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. Not only that, the writers of the New Testament call attention to the fact that they were eyewitnesses or, in the case of Luke, sought out eyewitnesses (see my post Eyewitnesses. for Bible references).

Why such an emphasis on eyewitnesses? Because Christianity is Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a mere system of ethics, mysticism, or philosophy, but rather it proclaims that Jesus Christ is the real God-Man, who was born, lived on this earth, died on a cross, and rose again, in—to use Francis Schaeffer’s phrase—historic space-time. Without the actual, real events of His life, His death, and His resurrection, we would be lost; we would be without hope.

My family will tell you how much I love maps. I found a fascinating Google map (of course!) and a timeline of the events of Holy Week. These pictures of space and time drive home the reality—that yes, Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again, and here is where and when it happened. And that’s exciting!

Via Justin Taylor is this Holy Week Timeline Visualization by Bible Gateway. “The vertical axis shows time, and the horizontal axis shows space. Proximity of the lines show who interacted with whom.” Click on the above link for further explanation at Bible Gateway. Click on the image to enlarge.

Holy Week Timeline Small

You might also be interested in looking at April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died by Andreas Köstenberger and Justin Taylor.

Holy Week Locations ScreenshotTaylor also linked to a Google map of Jerusalem done by Crossway “pinpointing (to the best of our knowledge) the location of the major events of Holy Week with chronology.” Click on the image to see the map. You can click on the letters in the side bar to find the locations and a summary of the event with links to the Scripture passages.

While I was writing on Luke’s account of Jesus entering Jerusalem, I looked at a couple of harmony of the Gospels I own to see how they coordinated the events of Holy Week. One was done by A. T. Robertson in 1922 using the KJV, and the other was done by Robert L. Thomas and Stanley Gundry in 1978 using the New American Standard Version.* If you don’t have access to a harmony of the Gospels, in 2010 Justin Taylor harmonized the events of Holy Week in blog posts, summarizing the day and giving the Bible passages. Here are links to his work:

Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Monday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Tuesday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Thursday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Friday?

Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday?

“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:45–49

Christianity is grounded in the history of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The eyewitnesses of the New Testament attested to what they had seen and known about Jesus Christ. They wanted those who read their witness to know and to be confident of the truth regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ.

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Holy Week Timeline: Released under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License by BibleGateway.com

*These two harmonies place Mary of Bethany’s anointing of Jesus on different days. Robertson follows the synoptic Gospels, and Thomas and Gundry follow John. Thomas and Gundry write:

“Possibly this episode occurred later, two days before Passover as Matthew and Mark may imply…instead of six days before as John places it. The placement of John is preferred in this Harmony, however, because it is easier to construe the synoptic accounts as flashbacks than to interpret John’s account as an anticipation. The fourth gospel apparently gives the event in its chronological sequence. Matthew and Mark, on the other hand, introduce it out of sequence either to contrast the worship of Mary with the animosity of the high priest, chief priests, and scribes…or to show why Judas was so interested in obtaining additional funds….”

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

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He wept over it . . .

Palm Sunday didn’t end with hallelujahs. Those shouts of praise drew this reaction:

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Luke 19:39–44

He Wept Over It, Flevit Super Illam
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the week will see more conflict and unrelenting tension as Jesus teaches at the Temple and confronts the Jewish leaders. Luke is the only gospel writer to describe this initial conflict with the Pharisees and Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Douglas Huffman puts these events into context.

“The three stories leading up to the entry—the blind man crying out “Son of David” (Luke 18:35- 43), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); and the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27)—follow immediately after one of Jesus’ key passion predictions (Luke 18:31-34) and connect directly to the triumphal entry story (Luke 19:28-44). Strauss’s overview of this introduction to the triumphal entry is worth repeating here.

“In summary, Luke like Mark uses the son of David cry of the blind man outside Jericho to prepare the reader for Jesus’ royal entrance into Jerusalem and his passion and death as king of the Jews. But, in contrast with Mark, Luke introduces two pericopes between these events which serve to clarify Jesus’ messianic role and ministry. In the Zacchaeus story, Jesus’ messianic role is seen not as the conquering son of David of contemporary Judaism…dealing with retribution to Israel’s enemies but rather as the compassionate Son of man seeking and saving the lost (i.e. the role of the messiah as set out in Luke 4:18-19, 7:20-23). Then, in the parable of the pounds, the nature of Jesus’ kingly authority and reign is presented not as the immediate establishment of an earthly kingdom on earth but rather as a departure to receive kingly authority, followed by a still future return in judgment.”

“As for the triumphal entry itself, these same themes are confirmed by the manner in which Luke recounts the event. Recalling the blind man healed in Jericho, people at the triumphal entry recognize Jesus as royalty and praise God “for all the mighty works that they had seen.” Recalling the Zacchaeus story and Jesus’ openness to receiving all who believe and respond, Luke alone describes the people at the triumphal entry as “the whole multitude of the disciples.” Recalling the parable of the pounds and the separation of those devoted to the king and those opposed to him, Luke alone reports the Pharisaic anxiety at the triumphal entry about Jesus’ identity. The time for ultimate judgment does not come when Jesus reaches Jerusalem (nor even after the resurrection when he is in Jerusalem; see Acts 1:6). But judgment day is coming. This is the emphasis of how Luke closes the triumphal entry episode with a uniquely Lukan account of Jesus’ sorrow over Jerusalem. It was not merely over the bricks of the walls and buildings that Jesus mourned, for it was not merely over those things that he is Messiah King.”1

Jesus wept for the hard-hearted, hard-headed, stubborn and unrepentant sinners of the city.

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Enrique Simonet, Flevit super illam (He wept over it). {PD-1923}.
1Douglas H. Huffman, “Receiving Jesus as Messiah King: A Synoptic Study on the Way to Luke’s Triumphal Entry Account,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 16.3 (Fall 2012) 11.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

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The Shout of Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:10

Tissot, The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem
After He had said these things, He was
going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

When He approached Bethphage
and Bethany, near the mount that
is called Olivet, He sent two of the
disciples, saying, “Go into the village
ahead of you; there, as you enter,
you will find a colt tied on which
no one yet has ever sat; untie it
and bring it here. If anyone asks
you, ‘Why are you untying it?’
you shall say, ‘The Lord has need
of it.’”

So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord has need of it.” They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting:

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Luke 19:28–38

As Jesus entered Jerusalem the week He was crucified, all four Gospels record the crowds shouting the words of Psalm 118:26:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

Palm Sunday is not the only appearance of Psalm 118 this week. Psalm 118 will mark the next few days, and its use is significant. Not only does the crowd shout it to Jesus, Jesus will quote it as He confronts the Pharisees, and in all likelihood Psalm 118 will be sung by Jesus the evening before He dies.

The ongoing use this week of Psalm 118 is significant because Psalm 118 is a Passover psalm. It was a psalm sung in remembrance and praise to God for delivering His people from their slavery to the Egyptians. It’s one of six psalms, Psalms 113–118, known as the Egyptian Hallel,1 traditionally sung at Passover.

Hallel means “Praise,” and Hallelujah means “Praise the Lord.”2 On Palm Sunday this Passover psalm was sung in praise to the Passover Lamb who came to deliver His people from their slavery to sin. The shout of Palm Sunday anticipated the joy of Easter morning.

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James Tissot, The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem (Le cortège dans les rues de Jérusalem) Brooklyn Museum.
1, 2Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150 (Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England: 1975) 383, 401 & 383.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2017 Iwana Carpenter

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