What Was Jesus’ “Playlist”?

Last summer, my daughter walked into the Apple Store in our local mall, and came out the proud owner of a new iPhone 12 Pro. In those first hours of set-up, one of her first priorities – as any teen will tell you – was to download the Spotify app and create a playlist! You can tell a lot about a person by what is on their playlist – the music that fills their lives, the lyrics that echo in their hearts. It’s common today for politicians and celebrities like Barack Obama, and even the Pope, to post their Spotify playlists on the web for fans to follow. But what if I were to tell you – and I say this reverently – that you could access Jesus’ playlist? What if I were to tell you that you could access and sing the very songs that Jesus sang, the songs that Jesus filled his life with, the songs that He turned to in the ups and downs of His life on earth? His playlist has 150 tracks, and they are posted in the Book of Psalms.

We sing the Psalms because Jesus sang them

We find the Psalms in the life of Jesus. When you read the biographies of Christ in the four Gospels, you find that His earthly family were devout Jews. For example, Luke 2:41 tells us, “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.” So, from childhood, on that annual family road trip Jesus would have sung the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134), and the Hallel Psalms (113-118) during the observance of the Feast. Luke 4:16 tells us, “Nazareth [was] where He was brought up, and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day.” Every weekend of Jesus’ life as He went to worship, the psalms were the sole hymn book he used.

And of course, Jesus engaged with the psalms throughout His earthly ministry – parrying Satan’s misuse of them in the wilderness, defending His deity before the Pharisees, expressing the grief of betrayal by Judas, and even while enduring the anguish of the Cross, the psalms were constantly on his lips (Matt. 4:6; 22:44; Jn.13:18; Matt. 27:35, 46). Even when He was not singing or citing them, the Book of Psalms serve as the soundtrack to the Gospels, as the Gospel writers intersperse the drama with copious citations from their inspired lyrics. So we find the psalms in the life of Jesus: His perfect life was a Psalm-saturated life, and so should ours be! But there is more. Read more»

David Whitla | “Singing Jesus’ Playlist” | Jan 24, 2022


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  1. “Singing Jesus’ Playlist” is one of the best articles I have ever read on the high value of singing psalms.

  2. I loved the article. Recently I “read Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms” by M. Lefebvre. It is also very good highly recommended!

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