Posted by: peebles | April 4, 2012

Matthew 26:30 (KJV) ~ And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Allow me to set the scene: Jesus and his disciples had just partaken of the Passover supper, and after the meal and while they were still in the room, they lift their voices in worship to God together. This was not unusual, as it is a Jewish tradition to finish the Passover meal with a hymn, one of which is taken from Psalm 113 to Psalm 118. After they had sung their hymn, they went to the mount of Olives. This was an act of absolute worship. In essence, it is saying, “My heart, my soul, my spirit is ready to give you my all, no matter what it takes.” This is the evening of personal betrayal; the evening when Judas left during the Passover meal to betray Jesus and lead the crowd, armed with swords and clubs, to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Ultimately, all of these events were leading up to the brutal and barbaric crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary.

Many years ago, a missionary couple in China was taken to a piece of ground and told to dig their own grave. They were an old couple who had served Jesus all their days, and as they stood over the grave, one of their captors asked them if they had one last request, or anything they would like to say before one for them had their tongue cut off and the other one died. Additionally, they were told that they both could live if they denied Jesus. The man said, “Yes,” and so he was allowed to speak. He knelt at the grave side and prayed for them, then he sang this beautiful old gospel song written by Rhea F. Miller, entitled, ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ with these amazing lyrics:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain, or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.

Then their captors killed one of them and cut off the tongue of the other, and let him go.

Before William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 for translating the Bible, he was allowed to speak his last words. After his had sung a hymn, he prayed to God, after which, he turned to the executioner and said, “I am ready now.” Even in the Roman times, when the Christians were told that they were to be fed to the lions, to the utter astonishment of the Romans, the Christians would lift their voices in a hymn to God in worship.

Worship helps us prepare for anything. Worshipping God lifts us up and gives us the strength to keep going. Worship takes away our insecurities. Worship takes away our busyness, and it helps strengthen our weakness. It helps us re-prioritise things and put things in proper perspective. It helps us focus on Jesus. It strengthens our resolve to do His will. Many people can testify, that in difficult times, while facing incredible hardship, they find strength in worship to face no matter what, as they sing their hymn of worship unto the Lord. Worship can help us prepare for the worst that life can throw at us, but God will give us the grace and strength to carry on.

My friend, no matter how difficult the circumstances we face, when we worship God and put Him first, He will strengthen us to face the task ahead, and then we will have the strength to stand up tall and say, “We are now ready, not only to lay our lives down, come no matter what, but we are ready to give our all for You.” The Bible says in Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. One day soon, we will sit in heaven and share the joy of serving God.

In out text for today, the Bible says in Matthew 26:30 (KJV) And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. After worshipping God, Jesus faced the horror and humiliation of the cross of Calvary and turned it into a magnificent victory for the Kingdom of God.

God bless you my friend, Matthew.

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