I am awed by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross for His sheep -- His wandering, straying sheep, who cannot even find their way to Him unless He leads them. Such suffering is imcomprehensible and humbling.
But it is Christ's resurrection from the dead, His triumph over the grave, that gives me hope. He is indeed the "firstfruits of the dead," the assurance that He can and will keep His promise to raise us even as He was raised. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory!
As we sang the the hymn "Ah, Holy Jesus" in church today, I reflected on the words in the second verse: "Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!" Treason is a harsh word, and difficult to swallow. But what makes it worse is that it is not nearly harsh enough to describe our rebellion against God. Who would sacrifice themselves for a traitor? Only the Son of the Most High.
"Ah, Holy Jesus" (Herzliebster Jesu)
Written by Johann Heermann (1585-1647)
Music by Johann Cruger (1598-1662)
You can listen to a lovely version (sung in German) on Youtube.
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.
I pray that the Lord has richly blessed you on this "Resurrection Sunday!"