Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands for our offenses given;
but now at God’s right hand he stands and brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be and sing to God right thankfully
loud songs of hallelujah! Hallelujah!
It was a strange and dreadful strife when life and death contended;
the victory remained with life, the reign of death was ended.
Holy Scripture plainly says that death is swallowed up by death,
its sting is lost forever. Hallelujah!
Here the true Paschal Lamb we see, whom God so freely gave us;
he died on the accursed tree--strong his love--to save us.
See, his blood now marks our door; faith points to it; death passes o’er,
and Satan cannot harm us. Hallelujah!
So let us keep the festival to which the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the joy of all, the sun that warms and lights us.
Now his grace to us imparts eternal sunshine to our hearts;
the night of sin is ended. Hallelujah!
Then let us feast this Easter Day on Christ, the bread of heaven;
the Word of grace has purged away the old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed; he is our meat and drink indeed;
faith lives upon no other! Hallelujah!
In his death on the cross, Christ bound himself in the chains of sin and death. In his resurrection from the tomb, Christ broke those chains for himself and for us all. Martin Luther celebrates Christ's conquest over sin and death in this rousing Easter hymn. The reformer was deeply aware of the spiritual battle won by Christ on that first Easter. Luther was also aware of the ongoing spiritual battle every believer must face. He once felt Satan's oppressive presence so keenly that he threw an inkpot at him. An ink spot still decorates the wall of his room in Wartburg Castle!
Luther believed that singing hymns was one of our best weapons against Satan and his evil forces. He once said, "The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God." By celebrating Christ's victory through song, we can continue to wage war against sin and death and begin to experience Christ's resurrection power in our lives. †
From: The One Year Book of Hymns compiled and edited by Robert K. Brown and Mark R. Norton © 1995. Devotions are written by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved