Jesus’ Passover Song, Psalm 116

1. Preparation

(a) Hymn to be sung earlier in the service: “Come Fill My Cup” (Let it overflow with love)

(b) Song to be played directly before the Communion presentation: Acapella’s “Not My Will But Thine” (on the album “Set Me Free”). The performance in the video below depicts the pain and the suffering of Christ in the Garden.

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2. Statement of Focus

This communion will focus on Jesus as he sings Psalm 116 together with his disciples at the Last (Passover) Supper.

3. Scripture

Luke 22:14-20
14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

4. Introduction

The Passover meal was (and still is) held as an annual event in each Jewish household.

As a meal, God designed it to commemorate the deliverance and the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

The first Passover is described clearly in Exodus chapter 12.

In each household a lamb was slain, and a meal was eaten in haste.

The lamb’s blood was then sprinkled onto the doorposts of each home.

God had warned that he would kill the firstborn of each man and animal in Egypt.

Yet the Lord says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Ex 12:13)

5. Today

But how was the Passover celebrated in the time of Christ.

It had crystallized into a clear sequence of activities.

And a big part of this was the singing of the 6 Hallel Psalms.

These are Psalms 113-118.

Now as ironic as this may sound, the Passover was (and still is) the most joyful of all Jewish holidays!

Think of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

That’s a holiday of heart-checking, repenting, doing penance and apologizing.

In contrast, the Hallel Psalms of the Passover are not only prophetic of the Messiah.

They are downright joyful!

They commemorate the delivering hand of God.

As one author notes, “they are a remarkable celebration of the great acts of the Lord – in delivering his people from Egypt. And they also point forward to the deliverance that would come through the Messiah, the Christ.

Psalms 113-115 were sung at the temple, during the slaying of the animals.

Psalms 116-117 were sung DURING the meal.

And finally, Psalm 118 was sung at the end of the meal.

6. Imagine

So I will now read through Psalm 116.

And I want you to imagine Jesus singing these words.

And I want you to imagine him finding strength from these words – while praying in the Garden, while overnighting in the dungeon of the High Priest, and while suffering on the cross.

7. Discovering Psalm 116

v1 I love the LORD, because he listens to me. He listens to me when I pray to him. v2 I will always pray to him, because he hears what I say.
JESUS WAS CONFIDENT THAT GOD WOULD LISTEN TO HIS PRAYERS – YET ON THIS NIGHT, HE WOULD ASK THE CUP TO TAKEN FROM HIM AND GOD WOULD REFUSE.

v3 The danger of death was all round me.
AND JESUS COULD FEEL THE INTENSITY OF DEATH CLOSING IN ON HIM.

I began to be afraid of Sheol.
I THINK JESUS UNDERSTOOD THIS MORE THAN WE KNOW. HIS STATEMENT THAT THE FLESH WAS WEAK WAS SPOKEN FROM HIS OWN EXPERIENCE. HE TRULY WAS TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY AS WE ARE.

I was sad because (I had) so much trouble.
JESUS HAD JUST UTTERED IN JOHN 12:27 HOW DEEPLY HE DESPAIRED OF THIS HOUR.

v4 Then I prayed to the name of the LORD.
THEN I PRAYED. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW JESUS TOO WOULD DEAL WITH HIS OWN GRIEF

(I said) “LORD, please save me!”
AND THAT IS WHAT HE DID.

v5 The LORD is kind and good (to people). Our God (shows us that he) loves (us).
ISN’T THIS THE REASON FOR HIS WHOLE LIFE.

v6 The LORD gives help to those (people) that need it. When I was in danger, he saved me!
HOW IRONIC. WHEN JESUS WAS IN DANGER, GOD SAVED HIS ENEMIES.

v7 (So I could say) to myself, “Now you are safe, because the LORD has been kind to you”. v8 Yes, (LORD), you saved me from death!
JESUS KNEW HE WOULD NOT BE SAVED FROM DYING BUT SAVED FROM THE GRIPS OF DEATH.

(You saved) my eyes from crying and my feet from falling. v9 Now I can *serve the LORD in this world where people live (and not in Sheol). v10 I believed (that God would give me help). (I believed this) even when I said, “I have much pain”.
[PAUSE]

v11 When I was very sad, I said, “Everybody says what is not true”.
[PAUSE]

EVEN HIS FRIEND PETER. [PAUSE]

v12 What can I give to the LORD because he has been so kind to me? v13 I will offer a cup of *wine to the LORD. And I will thank him because he saved me! v14 I will do everything that I have promised to the LORD. (I will do it) in front of all his people.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PASSOVER MEAL, JESUS WOULD DRINK OF THE CUP. HE WOULD LIFT HIS CUP WITH THE TWELVE AND DRINK WHAT IS REFERRED TO AS THE CUP OF SALVATION (REFERENCING THE SALVATION IN THE EXODUS). AND AS HE SANG THIS SONG, PSALM 116, HE WOULD RESOLVE “I WILL DO EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE PROMISED TO THE LORD”.

v15 It hurts God very much when one of his servants dies.
DO YOU TAKE COMFORT IN THIS TRUTH? I AM SURE THAT JESUS DID. A FEW VERSES EARLIER HE ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OWN PAIN. YET GOD DID NOT ABANDON HIM IN HIS PAIN. GOD TOO WAS HURT. HURT DEEPLY.

v16 LORD, I really am your servant.
[PAUSE]

I am your servant just as my mother was. You have saved me from death! v17 I will offer you my special “thanks” when I pray to the name of the LORD.
[PAUSE]

v18 I will make special promises to the LORD.
[PAUSE]

(I will do this) in front of all his people.
[PAUSE]

v19 (I will do this) in the *courts of the house of the LORD.
[PAUSE]

(I will do this) in the center of Jerusalem.
[PAUSE]

Hallelujah!

8. Upward Call

As we take bread and wine right now, I urge you to read Psalm 116.

As you drink the cup, read verse 12-13 and ask yourself what you can give back to God because he has been so kind to you.

Truly you can give him nothing that will make up for him sending his Son to this tormenting death.

The greatest thing you can do is to offer him this symbolic cup of juice – and to wholeheartedly thank him because he saved you.

And let Him know that you too will keep your promises to Him.

9. Prayer

Lord, we cannot ever remove the pain you felt when you were grieved by man before the flood.

And we cannot remove the hurt you felt as sent your Servant and Son to his brutal death.

So we won’t even try.

But Lord, we do lift our cup to you and we wholeheartedly say Thank You for saving us.

And as Jesus promised to fulfill his promise, we think on our own baptism, and we tell you now, “Just like the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth that evening, we too will do everything that we have promised to You.”

In the name of our deliverer, Amen

Reference

http://www.domini.org/tabern/passover.htm
http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/psalm-construction.html

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