Jesus Praying the Psalms of Ascent

jericho-road-imageAs I prepared for my message, “Help,” on Psalm 121 this past week, one thing that caught my imagination was considering what it means that Jesus prayed the Psalms of Ascent throughout his life. While we do not have an explicit record of this happening in Scripture, it is implicit within Luke 2:41-52 where Jesus travels to Jerusalem with his parents for the Passover festival.  In this journey, Jesus likely would have prayed the Psalms of Ascent as he traveled with extended family and neighbors from Nazareth in Galilee to the Jerusalem Temple.

Erik Routley, in his concise yet insightful book Ascent to the Cross: Meditations on the Pilgrimage Psalms, considers what may have passed through Jesus’ mind as he prayed or chanted these psalms surrounded by others. I was moved by this brief reflection from Routley on Jesus’ approach to Psalm 121, which speaks of God’s all=encompassing protection and help for His people:

Our Lord sang these words with his friends, and surely he must have said, ‘This is for them. This will come true for them. But only because I must renounce my right to it. I must be accursed and cut off, that they may know what their Father’s providence really means.’[1]

Jesus is condemned in order that we might be held close. Jesus suffers that we might be spared. Jesus is abandoned that we might be kept. Jesus dies that we might live both now and unto eternity.

Through Jesus the Messiah – His life, death and resurrection – Psalm 121 becomes even more deeply and powerfully true for every tribe, tongue and nation. And we may fully and finally rest in Our God, who is our always present Help.

[1] Eric Routley, Ascent to the Cross (New York: Abingdon Press, 1962), 21.


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