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Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ: Introduction

Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—let me provide a quick overview of the biblical texts and doctrinal themes behind the hymn Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ:

Verse 1 is a meditation on the incarnation. Line 2 of this verse considers the biblical doctrine that Jesus Christ is wholly God and wholly man, one Person with two natures. Thus, “holy God and lowly flesh in virgin’s womb have joined as one.” We next marvel at the condescension of Christ’s stooping to become a man, as described in Philippians 2:5-8. Finally, line 4 considers the “Father sent the Son” theme that is repeated often throughout John’s gospel and first epistle, particularly emphasizing 1 John 4:10 and 14. Notice that just as Christ was sent by God, He was also slain by God in order to free us from our sin. Through the incarnation, God became man in order to provide our salvation. He is Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23)!

Verse 2 focuses on the fact that Jesus Christ is God’s last and best revelation to mankind—“God’s climactic Word” (John 1:1, 14). As stated so beautifully in Hebrews 1:1-2, God spoke in times past through the prophets but is now revealing Himself with perfect clarity through the Lord Jesus. Serving as both the message (the Word, John 1) and the messenger (the Apostle of our profession, Hebrews 3:1), Christ reveals to us the invisible God (John 1:18; 14:8-9) and makes possible our reconciliation to God through His death (1 Peter 3:18).

Verse 3 wonders at the forsakenness of Christ. Though He was the friend of sinners, His own disciples betrayed, forsook, and denied Him (Matthew 26:47-75). More amazingly, though He was the Father’s beloved (Matthew 3:17; 7:15) and though He always pleased the Father (John 8:29) the Father forsook Him as well (Matthew 27:46). Ironically, though moral darkness and physical darkness shrouded the Savior on the cross (Matthew 27:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21), His death is the source of life and light to all who believe (John 1:4).

Verse 4 rejoices in the victory of the risen Christ. Line 2 reminds us that Christ could not possibly have been held by death (Acts 2:24) and that He instead crushed and conquered it (1 Corinthians 15:55). So long as Jesus lay in the grave, hope was dead. However, hope arose with Christ, and we share in the triumph of His resurrection (John 11:25-26; Romans 6:5). The hymn concludes with a glorious expectation: though Christ has already conquered death, we long for the day when He is finally enthroned over all enemies (Psalm 110:1)!

Hallelujah!

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2 Responses

  1. […] Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ—introduction and doctrinal notes […]

  2. […] Praise Our Savior, Jesus Christ—introduction and doctrinal notes […]

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