Posted by: rcottrill | July 13, 2011

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Words: Charles Wesley (Dec. 18, 1707; d. Mar. 29, 1788)
Music: Easter Hymn (composer unknown)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Charles Wesley’s original title for this hymn was simply, “Hymn for Easter Day.” He published the hymn in 1739, in eleven four-line stanzas. Of these, most present hymn books use only CH-1, and CH-2 (the first two lines, coupled with the last two of CH-3), with CH-4, and 5

The words were somewhat altered by Martin Madan, and published again in 1760. Wesley’s original of CH-4 said, “Dying once, He all doth save” (cf. I Cor. 15:22). But neither Charles Wesley nor the latter text teaches universalism. It is only all who are “in Christ,” by faith, who are saved. Madan changed the line to “Once He died our souls to save,” to avoid any doubt (cf. Rom. 6:9).

The tune, Easter Hymn, was first published in Lyra Davidica, in 1708. (A single copy of this volume remains, on display in the British Museum). The composer is not named. Wesley included the hymn tune when he published the hymn. But some other author added the “alleluias” to fit the metre.

Alleluia (cf. Rev. 19:1, 6) is the Greek form of the Hebrew, Hallelujah! It’s a compound word (halal-Jah), with halal meaning to glory in, or praise, and Jah being a shortened form of Jehovah. In essence the meaning is, “Praise the Lord!” The word has been associated with Easter morning since the days of the early church. Christians would greet one another with, “Hallelujah! The Lord is risen!” to which the reply would be, “He is risen indeed!”

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Actually, there are a number of wonderful declarations in the Bible to which the Christian’s response could fittingly be “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

¤ Right after Adam and Eve sinned, there’s the promise of God that one day the Seed of the woman [Christ] would crush the serpent’s (Satan’s) head (Gen. 3:15).

¤ There’s the thrilling announcement of the incarnation, when the Word became flesh: “There is born to you…a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).

¤ There’s the announcement from the cross, that our debt of sin had been paid: “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30), meaning “Paid in full!”

¤ There’s the glorious announcement of the angel, at the tomb of Jesus: “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matt. 28:6).

CH-4) Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

¤ On the basis of His finished work, we have the promise of eternal life, through faith in Christ (Jn. 3:16).

¤ And finally, there’s the promise of Christ’s return, and the prospect of dwelling with Him forever, in the place He has prepared (Jn. 14:2-3). Praise the Lord!

CH-5) Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

There is no question that, apart from the resurrection of Christ, our salvation would have been impossible (cf. I Cor. 15:12-20). We serve a living Saviour! Little wonder that His resurrection was a major theme in the preaching and teaching of the early church (e.g. Acts 1:22; 2:24, 31-32; 3:15, 26; 4:10, 33; 5:30; 10:40; 13:33-34; 17:3, 31; Rom. 1:4; 4:24-25; 6:4-5, 9; 8:11, 34; 10:9; Phil. 3:10; I Pet. 1:3). He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

1) What are some of the problems and impossibilities, if Christ did not rise from the dead (I Cor. 15:12-20)?

2) What are some things in which we can have confidence, because of Christ’s resurrection (Rom. 1:3-4; I Cor. 15:20-23; I Pet. 1:3-4)?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Just thought I would come and visit. You have a very nice site and very thoughtful writings. God bless.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Drop by any time. 🙂


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