Hallelujah! (Week 18)
The Hebrew word Hallelujah means “Praise the Lord” and appears numerous times throughout the Psalms—notably Psalms 113–118, known as the Hallel or “Praise.” This series of psalms was sung at all of the great feasts of Israel and expresses praise to the Lord for His mercy and His mighty acts of deliverance for Israel.
The final psalm in the Hallel, Psalm 118, contains prophetic verses of considerable significance in the last week of Jesus’ life. All the pilgrims gathering in Jerusalem for Passover would have been reciting this psalm. It is no consequence; therefore, it was referenced several times in the interactions around Jesus as recorded in the Gospels.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on what is now known as Palm Sunday, the crowd met Him with cries of “Hosanna” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” right out of Psalm 118. Hosanna is Greek for the Hebrew term for “save us,” which is what subjects would ask of their king. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” was a greeting and welcoming of the king—the one anointed by God to rule over them and provide their safety and prosperity. The disciples knew the crowds were proclaiming Jesus as their King with these verses and thought Jesus should rebuke them for it. He disagreed.
Later that week Jesus confronted the Pharisees for their rejection of Him, “the chief cornerstone,” by reciting Psalm 118:22–23. Jesus also quoted this psalm when He later stood on the Mount of Olives and looked out over Jerusalem, lamenting the fact they had rejected Him. He then spoke these prophetic words over the city: “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:39).
Jesus did not just mean they would welcome Him back one day, but they would welcome Him back as King. What a glorious day that will be when the whole earth will proclaim “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”—welcome, oh King!
If you would like to learn more about the original meaning of the psalms so they come alive, join me for this week’s Out of Zion podcast, “Hallelujah!” Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan, and get started reading right away!
Invite your friends and family to join us! I can’t wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!
About this episode:
The longest Psalm in the Bible—Psalm 119—is about the importance of the Word of God. Psalms 113-118 are known as the Hallel and are sung at every major Jewish festival. The Hallel contains the great messianic Psalm 118 which was quoted both by and about Jesus. This prophetic Psalm along with Psalm 83 provide important insight for us today regarding the calling on the Jewish people and how evil forces have opposed it. This episode complements the daily readings from our Walk Thru the Bible reading plan for May 31-June 6, covering Various Psalms.