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When Jesus Sings

Weekly Devotional for Preachers
When Jesus Sings
Image: Cyndi Monaghan / Getty

My Dear Shepherds,

What will it be like to hear our Lord Jesus Christ sing?

Recently I preached on Jesus’ crucifixion, which took me again to Psalm 22. The prophet David gave his distant royal Son the script for the desolation of his unimaginable suffering.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? … But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. … Strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. … My mouth is dried up like a potsherd. … They divide my clothes among them ....”

But the psalm—the script—doesn’t end in defeat. There is a turning point as sudden and stunning as the resurrection itself. It could be orchestrated with swelling trumpets, trombones, and tympani in a Fanfare for the Uncommon Man!

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. (v. 22)

If all the heartbroken words before this verse formed Jesus’ prayer on the Cross, then the verses that follow are the lyrics of his praise for his finished work. I assume that Jesus literally says these words now. Oh, says isn’t a strong enough word! I mean, what Jesus sings now!

We know about the soaring heavenly hymns of angels and saints: “Holy, holy, holy!” “Worthy is the Lamb!” “Hallelujah!” But here is our Savior’s song! Hebrews 2 takes up this verse to reinforce that when all is said and done, Christ will sing to the Father with us, his family:

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” (Heb. 2:11-12)

There it is! “Sing praises,” from hymne┼Ź. It is as if Jesus is the soloist and we’re his back-up choir. Can you see him signaling us when to come in?

You who fear the LORD, praise him!

All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!

Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! (v. 23)

Perhaps even now our brothers and sisters already gathered in his presence have taken up this anthem with him, but the concert will not be complete until we are all finally gathered around his throne to hear these lyrics from God’s triumphant Suffering Servant:

For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;

he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (v. 24)

From the Cross, even though God had seemed “so far from saving me,” the Father had listened. Despite weakness such as no other human being has ever known, the Father had strengthened Jesus until redemption was completed. When Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” the Father had received the precious trust of his life. And at dawn on the first day of the week, the Father vindicated Jesus by raising him from the dead! Now, by faith …

… we see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Heb. 2:9)

For now, we listen to Jesus’ song by faith. As pastors we help our people, once spiritually tone-deaf, to learn the lyrics and melody of Jesus’ own triumphant song. For now, we are like a choir in rehearsals until that day when we shall hear Jesus sing and we join in on the chorus.

Be ye glad!

Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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