Psalm 118:22-24

Today is the commemoration of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a unique day in all of human history. Never before the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ had anyone been raised from the dead into a glorified physical state. He was alive! The same Jesus who had been crucified had conquered death and the grave. It is something God has done to confirm His word and to affirm the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:23-24)

Just a few days before His resurrection, Jesus participated in the Passover Feast with the 12 Apostles. When they had finished the meal, they sang a hymn together before they departed the upper room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. As is recorded by Matthew: “And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matt. 26:30). The hymns they sang during the Passover Meal were the collection of Psalms known as the “Egyptian Hallel” (Psalms 113 – 118). The concluding hymn that Jesus sang with His disciples as they departed from the upper room was Psalm 118.

Psalm 118 is a song of praise written by an author who did not indicate his name. It is a song that expresses thanksgiving to the LORD (Yahweh) for His salvation and deliverance of His people. In addition to the disciples singing this psalm as the concluding hymn of the Passover Meal, the last few verses of this Psalm were sung by the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday as they expressed their praise to the Lord for sending the promised Messiah. They said: “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9) The term “Hosanna” means “save now” or “may He save.” Clearly, His disciples recognized that Jesus was the promised Son of David who brings deliverance to the nation of Israel and establishes His promised kingdom on the earth. Their expression of praise was rooted in the truth contained in Psalm 118:25-26.

O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

Between Palm Sunday and His crucifixion on Friday (God’s Friday, now known as Good Friday), Jesus referred to Psalm 118 as pointing to Himself as the One rejected by the nation but established be the LORD as the promised Messiah. He had come as the suffering Servant of the LORD (Isaiah 53) who brings salvation to His people. In a confrontation with the religious leaders, Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Matthew 21:42)

Psalm 118 depicts the salvation that the Lord brings to the nation of Israel though the work that He accomplishes for them. The LORD will accomplish this glorious work of salvation through the One rejected by the nation. God Himself is the One who delivers His people. “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14).  

As one who affirmed that the LORD Himself was His salvation or deliverance, the psalmist indicated that the LORD is also the One who provides the way for His people to enter His presence in righteousness (Psalm 118:19-21):

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it. I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me; And You have become my salvation.

So what is this gate of the Lord by which one enters into the presence of the LORD as one who is acceptable to Him? The gate or door into God’s presence is the One rejected by the nation; who has been exalted by God to the place of greatest importance. Jesus Christ is the stone rejected by the religious leaders and the nation of Israel. When Pilate asked the nation of Israel what he should do with Jesus who is called Christ, they cried out saying “Let Him be crucified! Let Him be crucified!” (Matt. 27:22-26). The One who was rejected is the One that God has put in the place of greatest importance (Psalm 118:22-24):

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Today is intended by God to be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for God’s people. It is a time of rejoicing in the grace of God for the salvation that the Lord has accomplished for His people through the One who was despised and rejected by the nation. Today is the day that though the resurrection of the rejected One, Jesus Christ has been exalted to the highest honor. Jesus Christ is the appointed descendent of David who brings the promised blessing of God to those who call upon Him and trust in Him for the forgiveness for sin. He is the One that God has highly exalted and given the name that is superior to every other name so “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus Christ alone is the One who brings salvation and acceptance with God. By His resurrection from the dead, God has confirmed “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among me, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12). By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has silenced all the various philosophical and religious systems of the world. Only Jesus Christ has been confirmed by God as the acceptable way for anyone to come into His presence – regardless of how sincere that someone may be.

Today is also a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the people of God, because of what the resurrection of Jesus Christ says to them about their standing before God. In a very succinct way, Paul stated the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the people of God. He stated that Jesus Christ is the One “who was delivered up because of our transgressions and was raised up because of our justification” (Romans 4:25). Notice the parallelism in Paul’s statement. Christ was delivered up, that is put to death, because of the reality of our sins and offenses against God. His sacrificial death was to deal with our sin. The One who had no sin was made to be sin in our place that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The Apostle Peter confirmed the same truth when he stated: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God…” (I Peter 3:18) The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was not an accident even though it was a miscarriage of justice. “By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of My people to whom the stroke was due” (Isa. 53:8). “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand” (Isa. 53:10). Yes, Jesus Christ was delivered up as the divinely prescribed offering because of the reality of our sins and offenses against God.

Now the other half of Paul’s statement in Romans 4:25 speaks about the glory of the resurrection of Christ and the significance for all who trust or depend upon Him for their acceptance with God. He was raised up, that is a physical bodily resurrection from the dead, because of the reality of our justification. The biblical idea of justification is to be judicially declared righteous by the presiding judge. In this case, God Himself is the Judge and He is the One who has declared righteous all who are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the testimony that the debt has been paid in full. The people of God will never experience the wrath of God for their sins and offenses against Him. “Jesus has paid it all. It is all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” God has confirmed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ that there is no guilt or condemnation against those who are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”                                          (Romans 8:1-4)

Truly, today is a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the people of God. God has done what no one can ever do for himself. The resurrection of Jesus Christ confirms that “It is finished.” The Stone which the builders rejected is the One God has established as the One to be given the highest of honors. Jesus Christ is the Only and All Sufficient Savior who makes an unworthy sinner acceptable to God. It truly is Amazing Grace!

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”                                                                                                    (Romans 8:33-34)

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Soli Deo Gloria!