According to biblical accounts, after the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn together before heading out to the Mount of Olives to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. Scholars believe that the hymn they sang probably included Psalms 113-118, also known as the “Egyptian Hallel.”
We find the singing of a hymn at the conclusion of the Last Supper noted in Matthew and Mark, two of the three Synoptic Gospels. In its entirety, the “Egyptian Hallel” is a hymn of praise. Keep in mind the occasion of their singing—hours before Jesus’ impending arrest and days before His crucifixion.
In light of oncoming trouble, Christ led His disciples in a celebration that included a feast and songs of praise.
Matthew 26:26-30 (NIV)
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, spoke a blessing and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mark 14:22-26 (NIV)
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, spoke a blessing and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it; this is My body.”
23 Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
As believers who have put our faith and trust in Christ, we are not defined by our situation or circumstance. In Christ, we are able to sing songs of overwhelming joy and face life with abundant happiness regardless of the trials, troubles, and tribulations we might be wrestling with at any given moment. Ultimately, we can be confident that as heirs of His righteousness, we share in Jesus’ victory.
Let the occasion of celebration surrounding the Last Supper be your focus as you meditate on the words of Psalm 116. Know that God is for you, not against you.
The Devotional Guy™
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.
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Lockyer, Herbert (1966). All the Books and Chapters of the Bible. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.