September 19

Text: Matthew 26:30

Mt 26:30 And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.   (NASB)

A Passover meal traditionally ended with a song.  The meal began in a sorrowful remembrance of the plight of those Israelites who were enslaved.  It concluded with a joyful celebration of Israel’s redemption, freedom, and blessings from God.  All the good things they enjoyed were the result of God’s intervention on their behalf.  Thus God was praised as they joyfully remembered their blessings.

!t is fascinating to see that the major memorials to God moved from devastation to a renewal of life.  Consider the flood, the Passover, and Jesus’ crucifixion.  Each moved from utter devastation, through an agonizing redemption, to joyous freedom.  With each there was a symbol—a rainbow, a sacrificial lamb, and a cross.  The symbol—properly appreciated and understood—moved from the devastation of death to renewed life.  Each moved from the seeming triumph of evil to the unquestionable triumph of God.  What began in the sorrow of death ended in the joy of praise!  Each occurred because of God’s intervention on the behalf of people.  People made an inescapable mess, and God remedied the situation.  Evil enslaved, and God freed.  Thus each symbol commemorated both the reality of defeat, the price of liberation, the agony of redemption, and the praiseworthiness of God for the freedom He provided.  In each, God was praised for His intervention.

Never was the praiseworthiness of God fully appreciated or seen during the reality of defeat or the agony of redemption, but only in the joy produced by the victory of God’s freedom.  Christians need to realize we are in the agony of redemption.  The joy of God’s freedom will not be fully experienced in any attempt to produce heaven on earth.

Suggestion for reflection: Why are Christians so attached to the physical?  (Read Romans 2:5-11.)

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