Monday, August 17, 2015
“Then they sang a song of praise and went out to Olive Mountain” (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26 IEB).
Have you ever wondered what song Jesus and the apostle selected? Did Jesus give them a choice? Did Simon the Zealot strongly suggest they sing a war type song from Psalms 58:6 or 112:10)? Did his nemesis, Matthew, counter with Palms 24:5 as a more appropriate selection? Perhaps a more subdued John suggested the wording of Proverbs 22:1 as a better choice? As with the issue of “who is the greatest,” did Jesus have to referee one more time (Matthew 18:1)?
Have you ever been curious as to how melodious the apostles or even Jesus was? It certainly would not have been four part harmony since that is a late date introduction. Perhaps they were chanters? Since a mechanical instrument of music was not an issue, did one of them whip out a small instrument and accompany their singing? Did they sing a sad song or select a peppy, upbeat one to steady themselves against the immediate future? Were there some “non-participants” in the group which excused themselves because the “they” of Matthew 26:30 was generic rather than specific?
Maybe you are wondering, “What difference does it make?” Probably none. But there is a precedent for this “wondering” or curiosity. When Jesus told his disciples what was going to happen, Peter rebuked him rather than accepting what he said (Mark 8:31-32). Yet, Jesus spoke openly or plainly (v.32). When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, think how shocking that was. He was their “Master” or “Rabbi,” yet here he was lowering himself to the status of a slave! Peter, as usual, objected. After Jesus finished he still had to ask them, “Do you understand what I was doing?” (John 13:12). They didn’t have a clue! This act of Jesus happened, apparently, after they had been locked in a heated discussion about “who would be the greatest among them” (Luke 22:24).
Jesus ministry lasted about three and a half years. Yet, in spite of his teachings, just before he ascended, their view of the kingdom was still foreign to what he had taught (Acts 1:6 NIV, IEB). The eunuch was a Bible student, but there were some things he did not understand (Acts 8:30-31). The apostles and Jerusalem church did not comprehend Jesus’ command to preach to every creature (Mark 16:15), limiting the gospel to Jews and half Jews for a decade. Peter confessed that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16).
Sometimes people hear what they want to hear, not what is actually said or written. Sometimes folks will read into the Bible or a sermon what they believe rather than what is actually said or written. Look at the church in Corinth!
I’m thankful for God’s grace because when all is said and done, we are saved sinners, living in a broken world. Only Jesus can mend us! Due to that mending, you and I too may sing “a song of praise” as we go out to face our world each day!
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16
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