Our Great Savior
Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.
Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
Also known as “Jesus what a friend for sinners’, this particular hymn was first published in 1910. Written by J. Wilbur Chapman, a pastor and evangelist, this song extols the many virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our friend. He is the lover of our soul. He is our Savior. He is our strength and hiding place. He is our help and comfort. When we pause and think about all His wonderful virtues, it is impossible not to stop and say “Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!” As we approach Passion week and Resurrection Sunday, we should be reminded that our Suffering Savior and Risen Lord is not just the historical Jesus of the Bible. He is also with us on a daily basis. Providing the grace we need for every trial. He is the High priest who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities, as Hebrews 4 reminds us, and because of that fact, we can “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Couple of comments on the lyrics:
Tempted, tried and sometimes failing – As most of you know, I am not one to recommend changing the lyrics of this great hymns. But for me, I wonder if “sometimes” is the right word. “Often” is probably more apt because there are so many times I am tempted and tried, and I fail. But this hymn reminds us that whether our failings are “sometimes” or “often,” He remains our strength. We can be more than conquerors, not in our strength, but because of who loves us.
Even when my heart is breaking – I appreciate the honesty of the author’s words here. I don’t picture a man full of confidence and arrogance, but I picture a broken man. A man who has encountered sorrow, even deep sorrow, in his own life. But I appreciate the fact that he knows who his Helper his. Psalm 121 reminds us that our Help comes from the Lord. He is our Comforter and friend, even when we feel lonely, abandoned, and yes, even when our heart is breaking.
Storms about me, night overtakes me, He, my Pilot, hears my cry - Have you been in this kind of situation before? It’s not just one storm, but it is storms that are all about you. It feels like 12:00 midnight. All is dark, and morning is a long way away. I am reminded and encouraged that the Lord is my Pilot during these times. It is Him, and no one else, that can say “Peace, be still” and the winds and the waves have to obey Him. He can speak into our situation, and part the clouds so that we can see the sun again. I hope you know today that He hears your cry today. Maybe your “cry” today is a prayer for Him to move in a particular situation. And maybe, your “cry” today is truly a “cry.” You are in a place of desperation and your eyes are filled with tears. I am thankful that He still hears those cries, even when the storms try to drown out our prayers.
There are several old songs that have the phrase “What a savior” in them. This one, and the great song by the Cathedrals entitled “O what a Savior!” are a couple of my favorites. They are reminders that our Lord is unbelievable. No, not unbelievable in the sense that we can’t put our trust in Him. But unbelievable in the sense that He is all we need. His grace is amazing. His love is unending. His mercy is everlasting. His power is unmatched. His care is unexplainable. When we stop and consider the kind of Savior we have, there are no better words than “Hallelujah, What a Savior.”
I want to close this week with the chorus from that great song by the Cathedrals. I hope you can testify that you have encountered this kind of savior too.
Oh what a Savior, Oh Hallelujah,
His heart was broken on Calvary,
His hands were nail scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life’s blood for even me