Psalm 118 is a joyful song of thanksgiving, in which the psalmist calls on all the people of God to give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.
We see this psalm recited when Jesus enters Jerusalem and the crowd recognizes the coming King crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
We also have good reason to believe that this was the psalm that Jesus Himself sang with His disciples when they celebrated Passover, the Last Supper, instituting this sacrament we are about to observe. And during that meal, as Christ sang this psalm, He knew exactly what was to take place next: the betrayal, the arrest, the mocking, the flogging, and the crucifixion. And in the face of all that, He sang lines like:
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
“The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation…”
“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
But, to put it somewhat crudely, this wasn’t simply a “pump up” song for Christ, one to make Him feel better or forget His coming troubles. For He also sang, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord… Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar.”
The Messiah of Israel knew who and what this psalm was fully about. Indeed, He is the blessed one who comes in the name of the Lord. But He was also about to become the final and definitive sacrifice, bound and placed on the altar.
And yet—He still pressed on with joy, willingly, for you…
This meal here is your salvation—it is the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed, for you.
So as you partake of Christ, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His steadfast love endures forever.
And come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.