“We sing to the God-man Jesus as our sufficient Savior. We sing about his redeeming work as our servant Savior. But Hebrews 2 doesn’t stop there. It also tells us with whom we sing in worship. Hebrews 2:12 tells us that Jesus is singing in the midst of the assembly, the gathered people of God. Imagine what this means. Do you ever wish your worship in general and your singing in particular could be more heart-felt or sound better so that God would take more delight in it? This verse tells us that, when God hears our singing, He hears the voice of His son mingled with ours.
I’ve spent a good bit of time in small churches, including the one in which I grew up in rural Southern Illinois. It seems like every small church choir, by the grace of God, has one good singer to hold them together. Usually it’s a robust soprano voice. But the real anchoring voice of the choir is Jesus’ voice. The beauty of our worship, just as our righteousness before God, is not found in ourselves but in Jesus. The voice of Jesus singing with us perfects our worship as it reaches the throne of God. While Christ’s righteousness is the answer to our doubt about God accepting us, Christ’s worship is the answer to our doubt about God being pleased with our worship. In this we see that our life with God is by grace from beginning to end.
We sing to Him as our sufficient Savior. We sing for His salvation as our servant Savior. And we sing with Him as a singing Savior. Because Jesus joins our worship as our victorious brother, we must join with him as our singing savior.
These truths alone give us grateful hearts to sing whole-heartedly to God in worship. But taken together they can produce an overwhelming passion for God. You see, verse 12 quotes from the Old Testament. Often, when a New Testament passage quotes the Old Testament, the broader context of the Old Testament passage is being invoked. In this case, the quote is from Psalm 22:22. This is the psalmist’s victory chant celebrating God’s deliverance.
But up until that point, Psalm 22 is a litany of desperate cries to God. It contains numerous images which the New Testament writers associated explicitly with the crucifixion of Jesus: The jeering of the witnesses (v. 7); the taunt for Him to appeal to God (v. 8); Jesus’ searing thirst (v. 15); the piercing of His hands and feet (v. 16) and the dividing of Jesus’ garments (v. 18, cf. Matt. 27:35). Most significantly, Psalm 22 begins with the cry of dereliction, ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46). This was the cry of Jesus from the cross as He felt the hot anger of the Father against Himself, God waging war against our sin in His Son.
The victory song that Jesus sings among us when we worship began with the anguish of abandonment culminating in His being ‘under the power of death for a time’ (Westminster Shorter Catechism 27). It wasn’t just Jesus’ death that gives us the new song to sing with Him, but His standing in our place to receive the judgment of God against our sin. ‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Cor. 5:21)…
The most profound lesson Hebrews 2 teaches us about worship is that, because Jesus sang the first verses of Psalm 22, we don’t have to sing them. Instead, we sing the verses of praise with Him. Because he cried out ‘Abandoned!’ we can sing out ‘Found!’ Under the weight of our sin He declared Himself ‘a worm and not a man’ (Ps. 22:6) so that each of us is ‘no longer a slave but a son’ (Gal. 4:7). The frown of God was upon His beloved Son so that divine justice satisfied smiles at us.
In worship we sing with our Savior because He first sang for us.”
–Michael Glodo, “Singing with the Savior.” RTS Reformed Journal 17, no. 1 (1998). Available at www.rts.edu/quarterly/spring98/glodo.html.