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O Sacred Head Now Wounded – A Hymn for Good Friday

Written by: Paul Gerhardt in 1830.

This somber hymn is an appropriate reminder of what Jesus suffered on what we call Good Friday. That title for such a day was confusing to me for so many years. Now I can understand it to be good only because of what was coming…Jesus would conquer death and rise from the grave. He died to pay the penalty for our sins and then rose again to show that those who trust in Him to forgive their sins on the basis of His work on the cross will also some day rise as well to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15 talks about Jesus’ resurrection and what it means extensively. Because he rose again, death was conquered. 1 Corinthians 15:55 asks where is death’s victory and where is its sting. Because Jesus has conquered death, we have hope, not only in this life, but for the life to come.

This hymn, written in 1830, reminds me of the cost of my sin. It had to be paid for, and it has been in the perfect life and death of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Read slowly and take it in…but, as you read, remember there is hope because He rose again!

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown
How pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
T’was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.

This third verse calls us to thankfulness. We do not have enough words or actions to thank Him appropriately for this immense gift. It was a gift that only the Perfect Son of God could give. Praise God for sending His Son, Jesus, to pay the just penalty for our sin and then to rise again to conquer death. Words are all I have on this page, but they fall so short. I am eternally grateful.

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