Read His Words Before Ours!
“His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1-4)
The truth of these words 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.
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.
“I called to the Lord in distress;
the Lord answered me and put me in a spacious place.”
The disciples longed for freedom from Roman rule and they trusted Jesus was the promised Messiah, the One who would deliver their freedom. Just as God freed the Israelites from Pharaoh’s rule so many years ago, surely He would do the same for them. If God was on their side, they would be victorious. There was no reason to fear.
Freedom . . .
Jesus needed to focus on the reason why He was going through with this. It was for these dear friends walking alongside Him, and for many others who would believe through their witness.
His death and resurrection would set them free, liberate them from sin and death forever, and cast out fear of God’s judgement by making them righteous. True, eternal freedom for His beloved friends was worth all that lay ahead.
“The Lord is my helper. Therefore, I will look in triumph on those who hate me.” (Psalm 118:7)
Perhaps the disciples’ voices grew louder, more confident, as they pondered these words.
Jesus had spoken of enemies tonight, but they wouldn’t have the final word. Against all odds, the Israelites had triumphed over Pharaoh and his army. God had shown His power, and He could do it again. Surely the Lord was for them.
But did Jesus’ voice grow fainter as He sang, wrestling inwardly with what was to come?
“I know there are many who hate me.
They will do their worst.
Death will look like defeat.
O Father, help Me endure.
I know this is necessary, and I know it will be worth it.
I know death will not have the final victory.
I know this will be a mighty triumph over the powers of hell for eternity . . .
but I also know it will be painful and bloody.
Please give me strength.
And help My brothers, Father.
My death will seem like a crushing defeat to their faith.
Please give them strength to endure.”
“All the nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I destroyed them.” (Psalm 118:10)
No matter what comes against us, no matter what enemies surround us,
we can defeat them in God’s power.
“Very soon, I will be surrounded by enemies, whipping and spitting, mocking and jeering, rejoicing in My demise. Already, the true enemies, the spiritual forces of evil and darkness, invade My mind, urging Me not to go through with it, to use My power to break free.
And I could . . . but I will not.
Only through My death will these enemies be truly destroyed, and My children set free. O Father, give me victory over the temptation to quit. Help Me be strong.”
“The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:14)
As they echoed the Israelites’ song of victory after crossing the Red Sea, praising God for His mighty power, hope rose in the disciples’ hearts. God was with them. Victory was sure . . .
As for Jesus, He looked to the suffering awaiting Him, knowing through His death, He would become their salvation. It was the only way.
Only in death would they, and all who would believe, be set free to embrace eternal life . . .
Great suffering lay ahead; Christ must hold onto hope, and cling to the truth that death would not have the final word:
“I will not die, but I will live and proclaim what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!