Riverside Community Church

Proclaim the Lord's Death
March 3, 2019

All around the world Communion is observed, some with great tradition and ceremony and others with less pomp and ceremony. Still others participate in Communion the same way every time until it may become so familiar that it morphs into staleness, ho-humness and even into disrespect towards the Lord’s death. The church in Corinth did such a thing, they came to ‘Communion’ to eat, to even get drunk and there were even trouble between Christians at Communion. They missed the whole point of Communion. Communion is remembering that Jesus died, that is to proclaim the Lord’s death. Communion is participating in eating bread/drinking from the cup together as Christians, simple, so simple.


I find remembering that Jesus died very sobering because of the reason He died He died for me & for you. Jesus died for us. We must remember that. Jesus died for you, because of your sin, so that He could redeem you and bring you back to Him.    That’s the Gospel, that’s good news.


Let’s read the account of the Last Supper from Matthew 26

Matthew 26:

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he 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 from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

We often focus on the blood at Communion but Jesus equated the body and the blood at the Last Supper, both to be remembered:

  • It was Jesus’s body that was beaten, spit on, punched and driven with nails
  • That body of Jesus touched a leper, a lame man, a dead body.
  • It was body of Jesus who made mud and put it into a blind man’s eyes for healing.
  • It was body of Jesus who touched Peter’s mother-in-law and raised her to her feet
  • It was the body of Jesus who raised His hand over the stormy sea and calmed it
  • The blind and the mute He touched with His body’s hand
  • Jesus’s  body’s feet walked on the water

Yes, that body, the body of Jesus, the Bible says ‘which is for you.’

The Bible says when the Last Supper was over ‘They sang a hymn and departed’.

So far, archeologists haven’t found a single Jewish hymnal. On the other hand, we do know the songs they sang that night. In your Bible, you’ll find them listed as Psalm 113-118. They are called the “Hallel” psalms and are noted for their spirit of joy and thanksgiving. Jesus would have sang this ‘hallel’. It was tradition to do this, especially at the Passover.


What does the name hallel mean?

Hallel is Hebrew: הלל, and means "Praise" and it is a Jewish prayer, a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113–118 which is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays as an act of praise and thanksgiving.


If we were in an Orthodox setting, you’d hear all six psalms sung on many of the Jewish holidays. The first of those holy days is Passover. A Passover meal included the singing of the Hallel, which were Psalms 113-118. According to Passover tradition, participants sang Psalms 113-114 earlier in the meal, and then sang Psalms 115-118 after the meal ended.

-Back to my question: what hymn did Jesus and his disciples sing after the Passover meal ended? Psalms 115-118, and from memory no doubt.

Let’s read together the ‘hallel’ from Psalm 113 & 114.

Psalm 113 (1-5)

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high…


Psalm 114 (1,2,7)

When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob…

Soon after the Last Supper Jesus would be praying and anguishing in the garden of Gethsemane. Significant words from the ‘Hallel’ would flow from Jesu’s lips and grip His heart as He faced the upcoming cross and His own death.

Jesus would’ve sung Psalm 116:3-4, “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!'”

Jesus would’ve sung Psalm 118:5-7, “Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (kill me) The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.”

Jesus would’ve sung Psalm 118:22, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

And on that Thursday night, when Jesus prayed in a garden with a heart full of sorrow before one of the Twelve came to betray him, he first would’ve sung the words of Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The Passover meal for Jesus and his men would have lasted for hours, as it still does today. It’s probable that Jesus and the disciples were in their private room until midnight. At that point, they sang the last of the Hallel psalms to wrap up a memorable meal and then headed to their camping site at the foot of the Mount of Olives. There was an oil press there (thus, “Geth-semane”) and it provided a quiet place for Jesus to pray. As you know, Judas knew of the site, too.

Memorable night? You could say that! Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples, shocking them into silence. Once they were listening, he had explained again that he was about to die for them. They all took part in the most symbolic meal in Jewish life and Jesus reinterpreted it as a meal that symbolized his own life!

Matthew 26:

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he 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 from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus said ‘do this’ twice. Do what? Do this: eat bread!

Do this: drink from the cup!

Now Jesus says to His disciples and inference to all Christians, Christ followers

         “ Drink; all of you” every Christian is to participate in the cup, in remembering that Jesus died for you, you are to proclaim His death and the shedding of His blood which covers your sin, that’s the covenant He made, He promises.

‘Hallel’, these are the words Jesus sang after the last Supper & before His death

Psalm 115 (1, 11-15)

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. You who fear him, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth … it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord.


Psalm 116 (1-2, 5-7, 12-14)

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Psalm 117 (1-2)

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.


Psalm 118 (1-7, 14, 21-25, 28-29)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

      “His love endures forever.

Let Israel say:

    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

‘when they sang a hymn they departed’ AMEN.