Posted by: rcottrill | November 14, 2012

Jesus, Wondrous Saviour

Words: Daniel Arthur McGregor (b. Dec. 13, 1847; d. Apr. 25, 1890)
Music: Franconia (also called Hastings), by Thomas Hastings (b. Oct. 15, 1784; d. May 15, 1872)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The Wordwise Hymns link will tell you a little of this remarkable author. Though he only lived to the age of forty-three, McGregor’s was a very productive life in terms of spiritual fruit. Sadly, the wonderful 1889 hymn he wrote seems to be little known outside his home country Canada. Few hymn books include it, and reference books (including John Julian) seem to ignore it. It is found in Living Hymns, a hymn book I’ve occasionally recommended on this blog.

This is an exuberant expression of devout worship. The original has six stanzas. The final word of the song, “ecstasy” says it. The dictionary defines the term as: rapturous delight, and overpowering emotion or exaltation. That’s exactly the mood McGregor reflects. Superlative phrases are heaped one upon another to laud our “wondrous Saviour.” He is “fairest…fairer far… sweeter far…more and dearer…all perfections rise and end in [Him].”

CH-1) Jesus, wondrous Saviour! Christ, of kings the King!
Angels fall before Thee, prostrate worshiping;
Fairest they confess Thee in the heav’n above.
We would sing Thee fairest here in hymns of love.

The supremacy of Christ is attested to again and again in the Word of God. Though He was with God from all eternity, and was (and is) Himself God (Jn. 1:1), Christ willingly set aside the glories attendant on His deity (Phil. 2:6-7), impoverishing Himself, submitting Himself, as Man, to the will of God the Father, that He might provide for us infinite riches, through His salvation (II Cor. 8:9).

Now, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). The Father “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:20-21).

One Bible book that particularly emphasizes Christ’s superiority is Hebrews. For about fourteen centuries, the Jews had been following the ceremonies of the Law, as they waited for the coming of their Messiah. Now, He had come. But some still questioned whether they should leave behind all the familiar rituals of Judaism. And some had doubts: was Jesus, after all their true Messiah?

Yes, “Jesus is Messiah [the Christ], yesterday and today the same, and forever” (Heb. 13:8, Kenneth Wuest’s Expanded Translation). I believe this captures the intended meaning of the texts–that Christ’s messiahship is enduring; the Jews must not look for another.

The symbols and ceremonies of Judaism pointed forward to Him, and are fulfilled in Him. What we have now is far better. “Better” is a word used over and over in Hebrews. By what the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross He has become “so much better than the angels” (Heb. 1:4; cf. 2:9). What He provides is “a better hope” (7:19), based upon “a better covenant” (vs. 22), “established on better promises” (8:6).

What a “wondrous Saviour” we have! “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9), and He is “our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13). “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12).

CH-2) Fairer far than sunlight unto eyes that wait
Amid fear and darkness, ’til the morning break;
Fairer than the day-dawn, hills and dales among,
When its tide of glory wakes the tide of song.

CH-4) All earth’s flowing pleasures were a wintry sea,
Heav’n itself without Thee dark as night would be.
Lamb of God! Thy glory is the light above.
Lamb of God! Thy glory is the life of love.

CH-6) Jesus! All perfections rise and end in Thee;
Brightness of God’s glory Thou, eternally,
Favoured beyond measure they Thy face who see;
May we gracious Saviour, share this ecstasy.

Questions:
1) What are some of the ways in which Christ is infinitely superior to all others?

2) What are some things that make the salvation He has purchased for us great and wonderful?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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