This song is based on a hymn by Frank Houghton who was involved with mission work in China. He visited the country in 1934 after John and Betty Stam were martyred, a very difficult time in the history of missions to China. It is based on 2 Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." The song directs our attention to what it meant for Jesus to "become poor" for our sakes - He gave up His riches, His majesty, and the praise and honor in heaven that He deserved, to become a man. The ultimate picture of His poverty is shown at the cross when Jesus "humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8) This is the reason that we sing the name of Jesus - In love He humbled Himself to the point of death to rescue us.
Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’ Humanity’
This Christmas hymn was written by Eric Schumacher in 2000, and Jeff Bourque and David Ward wrote a new tune for it in December 2010. You can find the original hymn text for use with the tune MANOAH (When All Your Mercies) at the hymn text page.
This is a song about the exceeding beauty of Jesus. Though we cannot see Jesus, we know Him to be beautiful both by our knowledge of His character and works in Scripture, and by our experiential knowledge of Him. As we say today, He is a “beautiful person.” Why is He beautiful? Stennett reminds us in this hymn text that Jesus’ beauty was most clearly demonstrated to us at the cross. By referring to His brow Stennett juxtaposes both the images of a majestic coronation and the picture of the crown of thorns being placed upon Jesus’ head in jest. While on the cross Jesus’ lips overflowed with grace as He prayed for the very ones who crucified Him. Jesus demonstrated grace and love far beyond anything we can know or experience “among the sons of men.” And Philippians 2 shows us that Jesus’ humiliation and suffering serve to further glorify His great beauty: “although [Jesus] existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” As the last verse encourages us, let us not only enjoy “regarding the wonders of His grace” but tell others of His beauty that they might love Him and join our songs of praise.
This song seeks to portray the amazing contrast between what Jesus possessed as the divine Son of God and what He gave up to redeem His people from their sins. 1 John 4:10 says "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The suffering that Jesus endured to turn the Father's wrath away from us ("propitiation") demonstrates both His and His Father's amazing love for us. Jesus was willing to trade the glory and majesty that He possessed from eternity past to become a poor peasant who ultimately roamed Israel homeless and was executed for crimes He did not commit. He was willing to be tempted beyond anything we can fully understand by Satan himself, willing to be forsaken by every single person in this world, to be mocked and scorned, beaten, and crucified, all while deserving worship. Philippians 2:6-8 says "though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
This is a song that could be a new Christmas favorite. Charles Wesley is famous for many beloved songs about Jesus' birth, and this song shows his skill at describing the theological significance of the incarnation. After singing the facts of Jesus' birth in the verses, we can respond along with Charles to simply proclaim "Hail! the everlasting Lord ... Friend of sinners - and of me!"