Yeshua was sent to confirm everything that had been written about YHVH, as well as what the prophets had said. And not only would He confirm those things, He would fulfil all the rest of the Messianic Prophecies that people were wondering about (Matthew 5:17-18). The birth of Yeshua is described in the Gospel of John as something extraordinarily strange and special: “The Word [of YHVH] became human and lived here on earth among us” (John 1:14). Yeshua wouldn’t just say all the right things; He could actually show us what YHVH is like. Yeshua spent about 33 years on earth, but He was involved in public ministry for only three of them. He worked primarily among a dozen disciples to teach them and prepare them to carry on after He was gone. He got a lot of attention for His public miracles and healings and began to draw a crowd wherever He went. He also began to attract the attention and derision of the religious leaders of His time, who were threatened by the acclaim He received from the masses of people. He eventually was convicted by a Roman court (fuelled by accusations and misinformation from His opponents) and was crucified. The religious leaders knew Yeshua had foretold His own resurrection and they took every precaution to prevent it. The Gospels record their failure, because the resurrected Yeshua was seen on no less than ten separate occasions before His final appearance when He ascended into heaven before the eyes of His disciples. (These events are documented in the No-Brainer’s Guide to Yeshua, so we won’t go into further detail here.) But among Yeshua’s final teachings was a promise that even though He would soon be returning to His Father, He would not leave His followers alone and helpless. He assured them of the coming of “another Counsellor” (John 14:16).


By: Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895)

Cecil Alexander was always a poet. She began writing poems at the age of nine. When Cecil was thirty-two, she married William Alexander, a parish minister in an impoverished rural area of northern Ireland. She loved the people. “From one house to another, from one bed of sickness to another, from one sorrow to another she went,” wrote one historian. Another said, “Day after day she rode over the wet moorlands in all weathers, carrying food, warm clothing and medical supplies to the impoverished and sick.” She especially loved children and most of her hymns were written for them. Two that are well known are “All Things Bright and Beautiful” (May 5) and “Once in Royal David’s City” (December 12). “Jesus Calls us” was one of the few hymns she wrote for adults and it illustrates her ability to apply Scripture forcefully and devotionally. She wrote the hymn at her husband’s request, to accompany a sermon he was preaching about the calling of Andrew by Yeshua on the shores of Galilee.

Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless sea,
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow Me.”

Jesus calls us from the worship
Of the vain world’s golden store,
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, “Christian, love Me more.”

In our joys and in our sorrows,
Days of toil and hours of ease,
Still He calls in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love Me more than these.”

Jesus calls us: by Thy mercies,
Saviour, may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thine obedience,
Serve and love Thee best of all.

Latin Hymn (fourteenth century). Translated in Lyra Davidica, 1708; Stanza 2, John Arnold’s Complete Psalmodist, 1749; Stanza 3, Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

You might confuse this hymn with Charles Wesley’s “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (April 3). The theme is the same, the structure is similar and Wesley also had a hand in this hymn. But this hymn is based on a Medieval Latin text. Alleluia is the perfect word for Easter Sunday. It simply means “Praise the Lord.” It is used throughout Scripture (especially in Psalms and Revelation) to glorify YHVH for the mighty acts He has done. And what mightier act is there than this: the resurrection of HaMashiach from the dead. Interestingly, this hymn speaks more about HaMashiach’s death than His new life. Both are vital aspects of YHVH’s redeeming work. HaMashiach endured the cross and rose from the dead. His death and resurrection are inseparable and hymn singers exult in all of it. During this Easter season, let us praise the YHVH who made it happen. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all ye heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

Christian Furchtegott Gellert (1715–1769): Translated by Philip Schaff (1819–1893)

What difference does HaMashiach’s resurrection make? Is it just a happy ending to an otherwise tragic tale? No, of course not. Yeshua had to rise, as Peter eloquently stated at Pentecost. It was impossible for death to defeat the Lord of life. The Resurrection proves that Yeshua was the Son of YHVH. Our faith is built on this solid foundation. As Paul wrote, “If HaMashiach has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. . . . If only for this life we have hope in HaMashiach, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19). But He has risen! And as Yeshua promised His disciples, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). Without HaMashiach, human life is merely prolonged death. Everything is decaying. But Yeshua gives us eternal life, which radically changes our life on earth. Not only do we have eternity to look forward to, but we have the power to live in right relationship with YHVH and others right now in our daily lives. Yeshua is our hope for the future and our trust for each day. Praise Him!

Jesus lives, and so shall I:
Death, thy sting is gone forever!
He for me hath deigned to die,
Lives the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives and reigns supreme:
And, His kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with Him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised—be it must:
Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives—and by His grace,
Vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will change my heart and ways,
Ever to His glory living.
Me He raises from the dust:
Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives—I know full well
Naught from Him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor pow’rs of hell,
Joy nor grief, henceforth forever.
None of all His saints is lost:
Jesus is my hope and trust.

Jesus lives—and death is now
But my entrance into glory;
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee.
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just:
Jesus is my hope and trust.

Anna Bartlett Warner (1820–1915)

Anna Warner and her sister Susan, grew up near West Point Military Academy, where they became known for leading Sunday school services for the young men there. After the death of their father, a New York lawyer, the sisters supported themselves with their various literary endeavours. Susan became known as a best-selling novelist. Anna also wrote novels and published two collections of poems. She wrote this simple hymn in 1860 to be included in one of her sister’s novels. In the story, it was a poem of comfort spoken to a dying child. Today millions of voices around the world sing these words: “Yes, Jesus loves me!” Once, when asked to summarize the essential truths of the Christian faith, the great Swiss theologian Karl Barth gave this simple answer: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” This profound yet simple truth is certainly worth singing about!

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Elvina Mabel Hall (1820–1889)

What do you do when the pastor rambles on too long? Elvina Hall wrote a hymn. Seated in the choir loft at the Monument Street Methodist Church of Baltimore, she had no paper to write on; only the flyleaf of the hymnal. There she wrote these stanzas. The composer of the well-known tune to this hymn, John T. Grape, was the organist and choir director at the church. Professionally, he was a successful coal merchant, but he “dabbled in music,” as he liked to say. While the church building was being remodelled, he had taken the organ home with him and had come up with this tune, which he called “All to Christ I Owe.” His wife liked it, but no one else seemed to. It was the pastor, George Schrick, who put the words and tune together (we don’t know how he responded to the fact that Hall had been writing while he was preaching). Hall’s stanzas fit part of Grape’s tune and she probably added the chorus to fit with his tune title. Three years later in 1868, the song first appeared in a hymnal.

I hear the Saviour say,
“Thy strength indeed is small!
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain—
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim—
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.

Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

Isaac Watts once said that his aim was to see “David converted into a Christian.” He meant singing the psalms was good but it would be better if they were infused with the gospel. He felt some psalms were unsuitable for Christian worship because they were written before the Cross of HaMashiach and the completion of YHVH’s redemption and revelation. The great missionary hymn “Jesus Shall Reign” is based on Psalm 72. There was no great mission effort when Watts wrote these words. Not until sixty years later did William Carey; the father of the modern missionary movement; sail for India. Today, by means of radio and literature, as well as through the work of faithful missionaries, HaMashiach’s Kingdom has “spread from shore to shore,” and “people and realms of every tongue dwell on His love with sweetest song.”

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And endless praises crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With ev’ry morning sacrifice.

People and realms of ev’ry tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His name.

Blessings abound where’er He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to loose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blest.

Let every creature rise and bring
His grateful honours to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

Jean Sophia Pigott (1845–1882)

We find it difficult to be at rest; to be still; in a society that is always on the move. We live in a world of ten-second sound bites and short attention spans. We are taught to be dissatisfied with what we have and to strive for more. In one of HaMashiach’s grandest invitations, He offered rest to the weary: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” YHVH told the Israelites in Isaiah 30:15. If we focus on YHVH, as this nineteenth-century British author did, we can rest, finding that He will satisfy our heart and its deepest longings, meet and supply our every need, and compass us around with blessings.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving-kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847)

It was probably the story of a Methodist woman named Mary Bosenquet that inspired Henry Lyte, an Anglican minister, to write this hymn. Mary was the daughter of a wealthy English merchant and enjoyed the finest of clothing and jewellery; until she attended some Methodist meetings and was converted. Then she was disinherited by her father and lived in a two-room house furnished with a borrowed table and chairs. As a member of the persecuted Methodists, she was threatened with injury and the windows of her house were frequently broken. Lyte’s wife, who attended the Methodist church, may have told her husband the story of Mary Bosenquet. Lyte is perhaps better known as the writer of “Abide with Me” (January 27), but the words to this hymn are no less powerful. While the language is archaic, the sentiment is one that is timeless: “O ‘tis not in grief to harm me, while Thy love is left to me; O ‘twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.”

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou, from hence, my all shalt be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition:
God and heaven are still my own!

Let the world despise and leave me;
They have left my Saviour, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like man, untrue.
And, while Thou shalt smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate, and friends may shun me;
Show Thy face, and all is bright.

Man may trouble and distress me,
‘Twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
O ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
O ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer;
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission;
Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Fanny Jane Crosby (1820–1915)

This is another Fanny Crosby/William H. Doane collaboration (see March 14). But with this hymn Doane’s tune came first and Crosby’s words came later. When hymns are composed this way, the words sometimes seem stilted and unnatural, but not here. Crosby was masterful at hearing the message in the music. She would often say, “That tune says to me . . . ,” and then write a stirring text. Interestingly, the subject here is nearness. Once again, the focus is the cross of HaMashiach. Crosby realized that the Cross is the central point of history. Without the Cross, there is no salvation, no eternal life and no hope. Even in Crosby’s time, some scholars and preachers were beginning to focus on the moral teaching of Yeshua, the virtue and goodness that He modelled for us. This was all well and good, but they were also seriously downplaying Yeshua’s sacrificial crucifixion. But Crosby echoed the apostle Paul, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach” (Galatians 6:14).

Jesus, keep me near the cross—
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest, beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

Nicolaus von Zinzendorf (1700–1760) Collected and arranged by Christian Gregor (1723–1801): Translated by Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813–1897)

The writer of this hymn, Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, knew all about problems. One biographer comments, “Although one of the worthiest of men, Zinzendorf had to bear the misrepresentation of friends as well as the opposition of enemies. He was continually spoken against.” As a German count, he was a man of wealth and position. But as a Christian, he opened his estate to persecuted Moravian believers. While visiting the king of Denmark, he met a slave from the West Indies who told him of the bitter conditions there. Soon Zinzendorf organized a mission to the West Indies, one of the earliest European missionary endeavours. Even in this, he was criticized and misunderstood by religious and secular authorities. Zinzendorf knew well that the way was “often cheerless,” yet he followed “calm and fearless” in the footsteps of HaMashiach.

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow calm and fearless:
Guide us by Thy hand
To our fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us;
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

When we seek relief
From a long-felt grief;
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring;
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won.
Heav’nly Leader, still direct us,
Still support, control, protect us,
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Written only a year after his conversion, this is one of the most famous of Charles Wesley’s six thousand hymns. As he wrote it, he may have been remembering his turbulent transatlantic crossing three years earlier. He wrote in his journal, “The sea streamed in at the sides . . . it was as much as four men could do by continual pumping to keep her above water. I rose and lay down by turns, but could remain in no posture long; strove vehemently to pray, but in vain.” Later in the afternoon as the storm reached its peak, he said, “In this dreadful moment, I bless YHVH; I found the comfort of hope.” Wesley talked to another passenger about trusting YHVH and the passenger replied that he had no refuge in times of danger. Even though Wesley was ill and frightened, he had the awareness, as he later wrote, that he “abode under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high;
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! Leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed; all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenceless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name; I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found; grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art; freely let me take of Thee:
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Henry Collins (1827–1919)

Henry Collins wrote this moving prayer-hymn the year he graduated from Oxford and began his ministry as an Anglican clergyman. One writer said that it was “almost too intimate to sing in a great congregation.” But the depth of the hymn is worth exploring. The second and third stanzas ask unanswerable questions: “How can I love Thee as I ought?” and “What did Thou find in me that Thou has dealt so lovingly?” In the apostle John’s first epistle, we are reminded that YHVH’s love precedes ours. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). But when we start asking why YHVH loves us, there are no answers except in the character of YHVH Himself. In Ephesians 3:19, Paul reminds us that YHVH’s love “surpasses knowledge.” In response, our love is always a dim reflection, like the moon. Our love is always tainted by our own self-interest. Yet even that imperfect love is valued by YHVH and we join Henry Collins in singing: “Jesus, my Lord, I Thee adore; oh, make me love Thee more and more.”

Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All,
Hear me, blest Saviour, when I call;
Hear me, and from Thy dwelling-place
Pour down the riches of Thy grace:

Jesus, my Lord, I Thee adore;
Oh, make me love Thee more and more.

Jesus, too late I Thee have sought;
How can I love Thee as I ought?
And how extol Thy matchless fame,
The glorious beauty of Thy name?

Jesus, what did Thou find in me
That Thou has dealt so lovingly?
How great the joy that Thou has brought,
So far exceeding hope or thought!

Jesus, of Thee shall be my song;
To Thee my heart and soul belong;
All that I have or am is Thine,
And Thou blest Saviour, Thou art mine:

Johann Franck (1618–1677): Translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827–1878)

Yeshua told a story about a man who found treasure buried in a field. The man sold all he had to buy that field. A merchant found a pearl of great price and sold his fortune to claim it. That, Yeshua said, is what the Kingdom of YHVH is all about; giving up everything to gain eternity. A rich man came to Yeshua and asked what he had to do in order to gain eternal life. Yeshua told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor, then he could come and follow Yeshua. The point is obvious: Nothing must stand between us and our Saviour. He is worth everything. Such a complete sacrifice scares most of us. We cling to our possessions and relationships and habits. We can’t imagine life without them. We assume that a life totally sold out to Yeshua would be dry and joyless. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yeshua is our “purest pleasure.” Possessions rust and wear out, but Yeshua gives joy forever.

Jesus, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest friend to me,
Long my heart hath panted,
Till it well-nigh fainted,
Thirsting after Thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb,
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Ask for naught beside Thee.

In Thine arm I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Every heart be quaking,
God dispels our fear;
Sin and hell in conflict fell
With their heaviest storms assail us;
Jesus will not fail us.

Hence, all thoughts of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus enters in;
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whate’er we here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Mrs. Turner was a quiet woman who had only recently come to faith in HaMashiach. Charles Wesley was physically ill and spiritually hungry when he found refuge in her brother’s home in the spring of 1738. Shyly, Mrs. Turner told him how she had come to personal faith in HaMashiach. Then she said, “In the Name of Yeshua of Nazareth, arise and believe and thou shalt be healed of thine infirmities!” That was the turning point for Charles. Several years later, when Charles Wesley was preaching among the miners of Cornwall England, a drunken man stood up and started opposing him publicly. Wesley responded, “Who is this that pleads for the devil?” and he rebuked the man in the name of Yeshua. That night Wesley went to bed thinking about the Name of Yeshua. The hymn he wrote during the night referred to that experience in the first stanza. But as he wrote the second stanza he was probably thinking of what shy Mrs. Turner had told him years earlier when she said, “In the Name of Yeshua of Nazareth, arise and believe!”

Jesus! The name high over all,
In hell or earth or sky;
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.

Jesus! The name to sinners dear,
The name to sinners given;
It scatters all their guilty fear;
It turns their hell to heaven.

O that the world might taste and see
The riches of His grace!
The arms of love that compass me
Would all mankind embrace.

Thee I shall constantly proclaim,
Though earth and hell oppose,
Bold to confess Thy glorious name
Before a world of foes.

His only righteousness I show,
His saving grace proclaim;
‘Tis all my business here below
To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”

Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp His name;
Preach Him to all and cry in death,
“Behold, behold the Lamb!”

Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091–1153): Translated by Edward Caswall (1814–1878)

Knowing YHVH is a matter of the heart. This truth dominated the life of Bernard of Clairvaux. At a very early age Bernard was drawn to spiritual things, largely influenced by the piety of his mother. At twenty-two he entered a monastery at Citeaux and three years later he founded a monastery at Clairvaux, serving as its spiritual leader until he died in 1153. In spite of his many pressing responsibilities and frequent travel, Bernard never lost sight of what he prized most; the love of Yeshua. YHVH’s love was Bernard’s lifeblood, pulsing through everything he said and did. His knowledge of YHVH was deeply personal, a mystical love affair that not only gave meaning to his life on earth but formed his vision of heaven. As Bernard said, “[YHVH] is Himself the reward of those who love Him, the eternal reward of those who love Him for eternity.”

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the mem’ry find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,
O Saviour of mankind!

O Hope of every contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be:
Jesus, be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.

Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091–1153): Translated by Ray Palmer (1808–1887)

Bernard of Clairvaux knew what he was talking about. A nobleman by birth, he gave up his life of luxury to follow HaMashiach. So when he writes about being “unfilled” by “the best bliss that earth imparts,” he knows. The monastic life was often one of withdrawal. Monks had their own communities, which were largely self-sufficient. Thus they could work and pray in relative solitude, focusing exclusively on Yeshua and His joy. But Bernard broke out of that system. If Yeshua was going to “chase the dark night of sin away” and “shed o’er the world [His] holy light,” He would surely use devoted Christians to do it. Bernard became an unusually public figure for a monk. He challenged popes and political leaders to live righteously. He urged professors to teach truth. He launched evangelistic campaigns. We can learn much from Bernard’s example. We do need time for “calm and bright” moments alone with HaMashiach. But we also need to let Him send us forth in service.

Jesus, Thou joy of loving hearts!
Thou fount of life! Thou light of men!
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee, Thou art good;
To them that find Thee, all-in-all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill!

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee
Where’er our changeful lot is cast,
Glad, when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay;
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away;
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light!

Nicolaus von Zinzendorf (1700–1760): Translated by John Wesley (1703–1791)

Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf was one of the most remarkable persons in church history. He was born into a wealthy family in Saxony Germany, educated at the best universities and named counsellor of the State of Saxony, but he chose to be associated with the Moravians, devout believers who had been exiled from Austria. Of the two thousand hymns he wrote, this is perhaps the best known. His hymns were personal because he was a passionate promoter of what he called “Christianity of the heart.” They were also HaMashiach centred because his life motto was, “I have but one passion, and that is He and only He.”

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which, at the mercy seat of God,
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me, e’en for my soul, was shed.

Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.

Paul Gerhardt (1607–1676): Translated by John Wesley (1703–1791)

Many have noted a similarity between secular love songs and Christian songs about love for YHVH. It is interesting that Paul Gerhardt wrote this hymn near the time of his marriage to a woman he had long loved. He had been an angry young man, a student and teacher whose plans had been put on hold by the Thirty Years’ War. As a young man he had passionately argued the finer points of Lutheran theology, but with age he had mellowed. His passion turned to the overwhelming love of YHVH. At forty-five, he found a steady job in a small village, married his sweetheart, and began publishing his hymns. Nearly a century later, John Wesley heard Moravians singing this song in German as he sailed with them to America. He was impressed by the rich hymns of the Moravians and by their deep personal devotion. Travelling by horse and foot throughout the southern colonies, he translated many German hymns, including this one.

Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
O knit my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there!
Thine wholly, Thine alone, I’d live,
Myself to Thee entirely give.

O Love, how cheering is thy ray!
All fear before thy presence flies;
Care, anguish, sorrow melt away,
Where’er thy healing beams arise:
O Jesus, nothing may I see,
Nothing desire, or seek, but Thee!

In suffering be Thy love my peace;
In weakness be Thy love my power;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
O Jesus, in that solemn hour,
In death as life be Thou my guide,
And save me, who for me hast died.

J. Wilbur Chapman (1859–1918)

Yeshua’s detractors accused Him of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. They couldn’t have been more right. By sinners they meant those who had stopped trying to keep the law, those who had given up on the religious games of the Pharisees. Such “sinners” were shunned by the religious leaders, but Yeshua spoke to them, ate with them, and befriended them. In defence of His actions, Yeshua said cryptically, “Wisdom is proved right by her actions” (Matthew 11:19). Certainly He backed this up with His own actions. As He said later, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is precisely what He did for His friends, the sinners. Yeshua gave His life so everyone can experience freedom from sin’s powerful grip. As a pastor and evangelist, J. Wilbur Chapman knew the joy of seeing scores of sinners open their hearts to the Lord. As a believer himself, he knew firsthand the joy of a sinner finding a friend in HaMashiach.

Jesus! What a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Saviour, makes me whole.

Jesus! What a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.

Jesus! What a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Jesus! What a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night o’ertakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find,
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Now, I have named just a few here, but try it for yourself. Do some investigation, delve deeper and see how many of the old Hymns and songs you can trace with a history. You will find it very interesting. Start as I did. Get yourself an old Hymn book, pick a hymn and start tracing the origin on the internet. See who was the writer, who was it inspired by, when it was written and in which circumstances it was written. IT IS GREAT FUN!

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