Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday, 2007

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath 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 man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

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.
-- Hymn by Johann Heermann (1630); Music by Johann Crü­ger (1640)

The second verse reaches out and grabs me every time I sing this hymn.

For further information on this hymn, and its history, see Ah, Holy Jesus on the CyberHymnal website. If you can read German, take a look at Herzliebster Jesu, also on the CyberHymnal site. There are fifteen verses of which five were translated to English.

The painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, The Raising of the Cross, shows the artist as one of those crucifying Jesus. The late Francis Schaeffer, in his book How Should We Then Live? points out how Rembrandt's understanding of Reformed theology led him to see himself as one of those for whom Christ paid the penalty.

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