The octavo for Gaze on the Christ (written by me, composed by Greg Habegger, arranged and orchestrated by Paul Thompson) has been out for a while, but I’m glad to finally be posting the hymn version at ChurchWorksMedia.com. Links and notes below. Grace.
LINKS FOR GAZE ON THE CHRIST
Gaze on the Christ (MP3)
Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and fervent—what we often call intentional—please consider the following overview of the biblical texts and theological themes behind this hymn.
“Behold the spotless Lamb” — Each verse begins by citing John the Baptist’s word to sinners: “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). The removal of our sins required the shedding of Jesus’ blood, like the killing of spotless lambs throughout the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7). Our salvation, then, was not merely granted by God in a costless decree of forgiveness. Rather, it was bought with Jesus’ blood when He died as the sinner’s substitute (1 Peter 2:24).
“Gaze on the Christ” — Scripture invites sinners to look on Jesus Christ as their only Savior ( John 1:29; Isaiah 45:22). Since His penal, substitutionary death was the fulfillment of every Old Testament animal sacrifice, the cross was the ultimate “altar,” the place of the perfect offering. The Lamb who was slain to save is worthy of our praise (Revelation 5:9-10).
“Behold the bleeding Lamb” — Verse 2 extends the “the Lamb who takes away” theme from John 1:29. By removing our sins, Christ also took away our estrangement from God, represented in the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple by the veil (Exodus 26:31-33). The veil’s being torn from top to bottom as Christ died (Matthew 27:50-51) signified that because of Christ’s sacrifice sinners may now be welcomed into God’s presence. In a tragic and awesome display of grace, we may draw near to God specifically because our Savior was forsaken by Him (Matthew 27:46). Christ has opened to us a “new and living way”—a blood-sprinkled path to God (Hebrews 10:19-22).
“Behold the dying Lamb” — What else was taken away by the perfect Lamb of God? God’s wrath against sinners. Christ’s death was a fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover, by which God delivered His people from bondage. Christ was the perfect Passover Lamb (Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28; 1 Corinthians 5:7). His blood, like the blood of the original Passover lambs that pointed to Him, brought deliverance not only from bondage but from the wrath of God Himself. When God, the great executioner, sees the blood of His beloved Son applied to believing sinners He “passes over us” (Exodus 12:13; Hebrews 11:28), sparing us by executing His innocent Son in our place (1 Corinthians 15:3).
“Behold the risen Lamb” — The Lamb of God who was prophesied throughout the Old Testament and preached throughout the New makes a final and great appearance throughout the book of Revelation. He is no pitiful victim. Rather, He is a risen and glorious Victor (Revelation 5:8-14; 17:14). He has triumphed over all enemies, taking away the sting of death, the great curse of sin (Revelation 1:18; 22:3). The risen Lamb will reign for ever and ever, exalted by the redeemed and, indeed, by all creation (Revelation 11:15; Philippians 2:9-11)
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