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Hymn: He’s Risen, He’s Risen

by PastorMinton on March 11th, 2016

He’s Risen, He’s Risen

Author: C.F.W. Walther (April 4, 1860)
Translator: Anna Meyer (1941)
Typical Tune: Walther, C.F.W. Walther (April 4, 1860)

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HYMN BACKGROUND

C.F.W. Walther, the first President of the Missouri Synod, wrote this hymn on Easter in 1860 while at sea. He was heading back to Germany to a much-needed rest from his heavy work load. While on the voyage, his thoughts went to his impending death (which didn’t happen for another 27 years) and on Jesus’ resurrection. As with many theologians and preachers who write hymns, Walther preached to himself as he wrote this hymn.

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LYRICS

1 He’s risen, He’s risen, Christ Jesus, the Lord;
He opened Death’s prison, the Incarnate Word.
Break forth, hosts of heaven, in jubilant song,
And, earth, sea, and mountain, the paean prolong.

2 The Foe was triumphant when on Calvary
The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree.
In Satan’s domain did the hosts shout and jeer,
For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones fear.

3 But short was their triumph, the Savior arose,
And Death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes;
The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high.
He lives, yea, He lives, and will nevermore die.

4 Oh, where is thy sting, Death? We fear thee no more;
Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden’s door,
For all our transgressions His blood does atone;
Redeemed and forgiven, we now are His own.

5 Then sing your hosannas and raise your glad voice;
Proclaim the blest tidings that all may rejoice.
Laud, honor, and praise to the Lamb that was slain,
Who sitteth in glory and ever shall reign.
(LSB’s last line: with Father and Spirit He ever shall reign.)

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COMMENTARY

In this glorious Easter hymn, Walther takes on many Easter doctrines in very short order:

  • Jesus’ resurrection opened death’s prison
  • Jesus is the incarnate Word
  • Jesus’ suffering on Calvary
  • Creation and new creation
  • Jesus’ descent into Hell
  • Jesus’ vicarious atonement

Six very weighty doctrines spoken about in this brief hymn. Walther was a theologian who knew how to relate to his people. To the seminary students, professors and pastors, he could wax eloquent in multiple languages to make sure he proclaimed whatever topic with just the right words. To the laity of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, he was able to bring the lofty words and doctrines of Scripture into the plain language of the people. This hymn is one of the great examples of his prowess toward the laity.

Walther’s account of the Christ’s Resurrection is a wonderful chance for us to sing about our salvation. We can incorporate a great number of doctrinal statements into a simple hymn that anyone can sing and understand.

From → Hymnody

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