Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

This last Lord’s Day at Branch of Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church we sang several hymns which I like very much. One was “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther. Another was “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (see my earlier post on that hymn here). The one I’d particularly like to call your attention to at the moment is “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted.” Here are the words:

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

Beautiful words. The second verse describes the passion of our savior. However, it ends with “But the deepest stroke that pierced Him / Was the stroke that Justice gave.” This echoes a point made by both Pastor Paul Viggiano, pastor at Branch of Hope, and Scott Derrickson, who spoke in Biola’s chapel last Friday. Pastor Paul, in preaching through the Apostle’s Creed, came to the line “He descended into hell.” This line, according to Pastor Paul, is crucially important because it expresses the fact that Christ’s suffering on the cross was not simply physical, but it was the wrath of God poured out on him; he took the hell that we deserve. Scott Derrickson made the point that Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was not a coward; he wasn’t afraid of a mere few hours of torture compared with the days, weeks, or even years of torture which some Christians would later endure for his sake. He was afraid of the wrath of God, a suffering much worse than any torture committed by man.

    • Joseph Pollard
    • March 10th, 2011

    Agreed 100%, Rick. Excellent point that seems to get lost. It’s so easy to say, “Jesus died for sinners,” but that’s honestly not painting the full truth of the matter called salvation. A side-note to the Garden of Gethsemane/sweat like drops of blood/”Take this cup” idea is that the Messiah had the perfect “fear of the LORD” in His moment of full and intimate knowledge of the infinite wrath that my sins deserve.

    • Well said. “The cup” represents the wrath of God, and having a perfect “fear of the LORD” is a good way to describe his state in the garden.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: