And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Matthew 26:26-30 NKJV (Note 1)
In The Dim Light Of The Upper Room, Hallel
Hallel is a Jewish prayer of praise, joy, and thanksgiving for divine redemption. Recited and sung from the time of Moses and the Judges, it is made up of parts or all of Psalms 113–118, and of the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. These six psalms are known collectively as Hallel psalms (“The Praise”) because of the Hallelujah! (“Praise the Lord”) endings.
The Hallel tradition was well established in Jewish liturgy by the time of Jesus. Psalms 113–114 were sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115–118 after it. These were probably the hymns Jesus and His disciples sang after their Passover seder meal. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Read that again. Jesus knew full well what was to come. Imagine being able to sing a hymn of praise in that moment. That is the definition of serenity. That’s blessed assurance. That’s realizing your Father is wise and good and that He can be implicitly trusted. It’s refusing to factor your own feelings into your faith decisions. It’s valuing His great redemptive plan above your own comfort and safety. And it’s choosing to recognize traces of life, and hope, and glory, and joy in the same situations where most can see only fear, and doubt, and anxiety, and self-pity.
But that’s what His suffering love has earned us the right to experience. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, the same song that brightened the shadow of the cross can cast its calming light into the room where you’re sitting today. His heart at rest can be music to your weary, worried soul.
We do not know what God plans for His people Israel and for his Church; he established them both. But on this Easter, think of the marvelousness of our Jewish lineage. And of our Lord and Savior, a Jewish Rabbi.
Adapted from The Quiet Place, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Note 1: Paul explicates: On the night when Judas betrayed him, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks to God for it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new agreement between God and you that has been established and set in motion by my blood. Do this in remembrance of me whenever you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you are retelling the message of the Lord’s death, that he has died for you. Do this until he comes again. 1 Corinthians 11:23-31 TLB