Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
For many people, Psalm 118 is known primarily for saying, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (v. 24, ESV). That's a great reason to be aware of the Psalm, but I'd like to give us some more reasons.
In this Psalm, the Psalmist identifies an individual who is the means of God's grace. We thank the Lord for being the gate of righteousness. Our entry into God's kingdom is through him, the person of God. As we read on, we see that he is our salvation, and is the cornerstone upon which we can be built. The temple of God in this world is built on the foundation of God, the one through whom we enter the kingdom.
The oddity in all this comes to the surface in verse 23 when it is the Lord's doing. God has invited us to enter his kingdom through himself, but here it looks almost as if the Father is not the actual gateway. The Psalm hints that there is something more complex than that happening. The Lord is the one who has provided a sacrifice, one appropriate for this day, and it is a "festal sacrifice" bound to the altar.
The Christian recognizes that Jesus himself, the Lamb of God, is the one who has given himself, God almighty, to become a sacrifice for us. He has placed himself on the altar and has made himself the way for all who believe to enter into God's kingdom. This is how he has opened the gate of righteousness, because he himself is our righteousness, the gate which has opened to usher us into eternity.
It is indeed the Lord's day, a time for rejoicing.
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