If you're like me you often sing hymns - especially the most familiar ones - without really considering the words. We short-change God in our worship times when we simply sing along, not taking in or truly professing the message.
I encourage you to take a few moments to lean into this favorite hymn about the cross and consider the powerful truths Isaac Watts wanted to convey over 300 years ago.
When I survey – measure, investigate
the wondrous - astonishing, extraordinary, miraculous
cross - a tool of shame and cruelty,
On which the Prince of glory - my Jesus, my Savior, God with us
died - feeling the full weight of every sin and the darkness of God turning His face away,
My richest gain - what could even compare?
I count but loss - as bankruptcy,
And I pour contempt - hatred, disapproval
on all my pride - the basis of all sin.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast - brag, take pride in, take credit for
Save in the death of Christ - the promised Messiah, -
my God - He is mine!
All the vain - empty, meaningless
things that charm - hold my attention, fascinate, seduce
I sacrifice - give over, freely yield
them to His blood – the precious price paid for my sin.
See, from His head - the crown of thorns, the bruises, and disfigurement,
His hands - the nails, the open arms,
His feet - the nails, the agony of trying to push up to breathe,
Sorrow - grief, despair
and love - we cannot even imagine or describe
flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns - so sharp and piercing
compose so rich - incomparable in history, a loving gift of grace requiring the greatest sacrifice
a crown? – a symbol of sovereignty as well as victory
Were the whole - entire, complete
realm - domain, kingdom
of nature - all of the universe created by our great God
That were a present far too small - even that would not compare to what Christ has done
Love so amazing - stunning, incredible, startling
so divine,- holy, sacred, eternal -
Demands - commands, claims, is worthy of
my soul, my life, my all - and it is no burden or sacrifice.
It can be easy to skip quickly past the cross to the resurrection. Yet they are of equal importance, so I pray that you will meditate on the challenge of Paul in Galatians 6:14 and Watts' hymn of devotion in your preparation for Resurrection Sunday.
If you don't know the significance of the cross, click here. I would love to tell you about it!