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This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made
Part 7 of 8 Articles

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in March/April, 1995

Did you ever think that the death of Christ on Calvary was a crushing defeat? Did you perhaps think that the situation had gotten out of control? Did you think that God was caught off guard? Did you think that the crucifixion of the Son of Man was unplanned or unanticipated? If you did, then think again!

A few short hours before the Lord's crucifixion, He commanded His disciples to make ready the Passover (Matthew 26:18). He expressed His feelings this way: “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). The main element of the Passover was the lamb. It was slain, it suffered – but through that suffering it brought redemption to multitudes of Jews enslaved in Egypt. Jesus knew that He would soon suffer and die as the Passover Lamb. He knew that through that death He would bring redemption to countless multitudes who, through the ages, would put their trust in Him. But first, He wanted to eat the Passover lamb before He became the Passover Lamb. It would be a source of encouragement – a vivid reminder that His death would not be in vain. He had not yet been betrayed – He had not yet been taken captive – He had not yet been tried – but He knew He was soon to die. He knew the precise moment, the exact location, and by whose hand.

And so, in obedience, the disciples made ready the Passover, and they ate together. Following the dinner, they sang a hymn and went out onto the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30). Did you know that we, today, in the twentieth century, so long removed from that event, know the song that they sang? It has been sung by Jews down through the centuries in connection with the Passover. It is called the “Great Hallel” and is taken from Psalm 118. In the official book (Haggadah) detailing the observance of the Passover and produced under the supervision of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, two verses of Scripture from Psalm 118 must be recited twice during the Passover dinner. The first verse is, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24). Many people think that this is a verse for all seasons. There is the man who bounds out of bed on a glorious day. He feels good, the sun is shining, he has a pleasant schedule, and he gleefully proclaims, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Then, there is the man who takes the other tack. He climbs out of bed, it's cold and dreary, his schedule is not a particularly pleasant one, but with bulldog determination and with stiff upper lip, he exclaims, “Well, in spite of it all, this is the day which the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Both miss the glorious point to be made. Jesus was not singing about any day or every day. He was speaking of a specific day, a definitive day – the day He would die on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. He fully understood the physical pain and spiritual agony to be endured – He realized that for the first time in all of eternity, the sins of the world would be placed upon Him, and He would be separated from His heavenly Father. But Jesus also knew that He was there by divine appointment. Had He not said, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)? And, “No man taketh it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). And again concerning His death, He said, “For this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37). Since He was there in the plan and program of His Father, and since His death would provide redemption for those who put their trust in Him, He could sing in triumph, only hours before His death, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” How utterly amazing!

And, as if that were not enough, He sang a second verse. And since He was both perfect Man and eternal God, His voice must have been beautiful with perfect pitch and resonance – nothing flat, nothing sharp, and nothing discordant. And the lyrics – they were words of absolute victory for He sang, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner” (Psalm 118:22). The Stone was Christ. The builder was Israel. They had rejected His messianic claims, and now He would die. But, through that death, the true Church, including both Jew and Gentile, would spring forth into life. He, himself, would be its Cornerstone. A sovereign God was using Israel as His instrument for worldwide blessing – as He had promised – even during her period of sin and disobedience.

What, then, was the commentary of the Lord of glory only hours before His death which would turn the sky dark at mid-afternoon? Permit a solemn paraphrase: “I am here by the active design and power of My Father, and through My death I will become the Cornerstone upon which the true Church – My eternal bride – will be built.” The psalmist could only comment, “This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

With the death of Christ, the Jewish leaders thought they had finally gotten rid of a rabble-rouser; the disciples thought their hopes and dreams had come to an insoluble end; Satan thought he had finally destroyed the Seed who was to bruise his head and recapture man's lost destiny as King of the earth. Over His cross Rome wrote, “The King of the Jews.” Satan thought he had God's Son checkmated, a word coming from Hebrew and meaning “The King is dead.” But Satan's glee was premature and ill-advised. Only God knew the truth. His Son's physical death would consummate in His bodily resurrection – on the third day Christ rose from the grave. The King was very much alive.

Calvary was not an ignominious defeat but an indescribably glorious triumph. Are you sharing in it?

The next article (8 of 8) is entitled “Of Him, Through Him, To Him.”


This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made
Part 7 of 8 Articles

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in March/April, 1995