CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY
Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! (Revelation 1:17, 18)
What a glorious truth to ponder—Jesus is not the “Great I WAS” but rather the “Great I AM!” He is not only a historical fact but a present-day, living reality. The whole system of Christianity rests upon the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and is now seated at the Father’s right hand as our personal advocate.
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today” has been one of the church’s most popular Easter hymns since it was first written by Charles Wesley just one year after his “heart-warming” experience at the Aldersgate Hall in London, England, in 1738. The first Wesleyan Chapel in London was a deserted iron foundry. It became known as the Foundry Meeting House. This hymn was written by Charles for the first service in that chapel.
Following his Aldersgate encounter with Christ, Charles began writing numerous hymns on every phase of the Christian experience, some 6,500 in all. It has been said that the hymns of Charles Wesley clothed Christ in flesh and blood and gave converts a belief they could easily grasp, embrace with personal faith, and if necessary, even die for.
If all of our eternity is to be realized on this side of the grave, we are hopeless and to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19). But for the Christian, the resurrection assures us of God’s tomorrow. This anticipation makes it possible to live joyfully today, regardless of life’s circumstances.
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say: Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply: Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
For Today: Matthew 28:1–9; Acts 2:24–28; 1 Corinthians 15:4, 20; 55–57
The message of the resurrection is to “come and see”—to personally experience the transforming power of the living Christ. Then—“to go and tell.” Carry this hymn of triumph with you—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Now in the end of the Sabbath, when the first day of the week began to dawn, ary Magdalene, and the other Mary, came to see his sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake: but the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him, the keepers were astonied, and became as dead men. But the Angel answered, and said to the women, Fear ye not: for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified: He is not here, for he is risen, as he said: come, see the place where the Lord was laid, And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee: there ye shall see him: lo, I have told you. So they departed quickly from the sepulcher, with fear and great joy, and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus also met him, saying, God save you. And they came, and took him by the feet, and worshipped him. Matthew 28:1–9
- Whom God hath raised up, and loosed the sorrows of death, because it was impossible that he should be holden of it. For David saith concerning him, I beheld the Lord always before me: for he is at my right hand, that I should not be shaken. Therefore did mine heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad, and moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope, Because thou wilt not leave my soul in grave, neither wilt suffer thine Holy one to see corruption. Thou hast showed me the ways of life, and shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Acts 2:24–28
- And that he was buried, and that he arose the third day, according to the Scriptures, … But now is Christ risen from the dead, and was made the firstruits of them that slept. 1 Corinthians 15:4, 20
- O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be unto God, which hath given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, abundant always in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:55–57