When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. -Mark 14:26
Jesus sang a hymn with his disciples at the Last Supper. It was the last thing he did with them. I wonder what kind of hymn it was …
Was it considered contemporary or traditional? Was it sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek? Was it done acapella and did Peter ‘The Rock’ Son of Jonah have a solo? Or was there instrumentation? Maybe James and John are called the ‘Sons of Thunder’ because they can play a mean harp. (“Sons of Thunder” is the name of an 80s Christian rock band. I Googled it; check it out, actually, please don’t.)
Because the song was after a Passover meal, it was most likely one of these Psalms: 113-118. If I were to pick one, I would go with Psalm 118, which is often quoted in the New Testament. Plus, it is a victory song speaking about the day when God becomes our salvation:
“The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous… The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” ––Psalm 118:14, 22
The truth is no one knows for sure what was sung that night, but I am certain the disciples sang that song again and again and when they did, it reminded them of their friend Jesus and what he did for them on the night of his betrayal.
I love the Armenian instrument of the duduk because of its range of emotion. It can produce the saddest noise imaginable(The Passion of the Christ and Gladiator) but it can also get people celebrating on the dance floor. I imagine the hymn the disciples sang with Jesus probably had the emotional range of a duduk, where it started on the low note of Good Friday but ended with the high note of Easter.
The hymn sung at the Last Supper was the first of many hymns that would remind disciples throughout history of Jesus’ victory over the grave. Thousands of songs have been written in various periods and languages since that night, praising Jesus Christ for his sacrificial love and the salvation he brings.
Church, let us sing and be grateful for our Singing savior!