Man of Sorrows

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not – Isaiah 53: 3

Ecce Homo - Behold the Man

 Man of Sorrows! what a name

For the Son of God, Who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

 In some church traditions, one doesn’t sing or say the word “Hallelujah” during the season of Lent; that word is saved for Easter Sunday. So it makes this song a little unusual in that each verse ends with the phrase “Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”

Suffering Servant, Kensington Gardens, London

This is a song of contrasts. It commemorates and celebrates. It moves from Old Testament prophecy to New Testament reality to future promise. It describes Christ’s experience on the cross – the verbal, physical and spiritual abuse he accepted on our behalf – and celebrates the redeeming work Jesus did. We are described as “ruined sinners, guilty, vile and helpless” – Jesus as “spotless Lamb” who stood in our place condemned, who sealed our pardon with His blood, who reclaimed us. (Don’t you love that word: reclaimed?) And every verse ends the same way, as if the writer can hardly believe, can hardly contain his emotions: Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

The song ends with a little bit of that “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’” feel:

 When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

 A note on the music: the Methodist hymnal editor, Carlton Young, wrote that the setting of this song is “typical of the reflective, chordal, quasi-choral music of the Reconstruction era’s revival that has been all but lost in the mounds of frivolous and repetitious dance tunes in the gospel hymn repertory.” (Young 1993)


If Mr. Young is present at our Good Friday Blues service, I believe he’ll be appalled at what we’ve done to this song. Taking the “Hallelujah” quite seriously, Aaron has reinterpreted this hymn into a rockin’ blues song that may not only get you singing “Hallelujah!” it might just get you moving. I hope you haven’t given up dancing for Lent…

Jesus dancing on the Sea of Galilea


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