The Wondrous Cross

Scripture Reading: John 19:16-27
 
Hymn-singing has always been part of the Church. From it’s earliest days, when Paul encouraged God’s people to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16), the church has always been a singing church. God has raised up many great hymn/song-writers, and one of them is a man named Issac Watts.
 
Watts showed great talent at an early age. He was learning Latin when he was 5, Greek when he was 9, and Hebrew when he was 12. He was part of the Church of his day, but became increasingly disturbed by the psalm-singing English Church. He felt that more appropriate songs needed to be written to encourage God’s people to really praise Him. So he started writing songs, and in his lifetime,  completed over 600 of them. One is the lovely Easter hymn, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.”
 
The words of this song are tremendous, especially at this time of the year, when our focus is on the cross. Watts was moved by the death of Christ on the cross, and originally called the song “Crucifixion To The World By The Cross Of Christ.” This title came from the challenging lines of the last verse:
 
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all
 
This picks up Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20, which challenges me to be crucified — dead to self — so that Christ may live in me.
 
Watt’s hymns were and still are some of the strongest statements of the Christian faith. Take time in your devotions today to sing or say the words of this beautiful hymn, and I know they will bless your heart as they have countless people over the centuries.

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