One of the great joys in the Church is music, especially when we have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from hymns written by brothers and sisters in Christ who do not necessarily share our doctrinal distinctives. This hymn could be considered in this category for its author, Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was one of the founders of the Methodist movement in England. The Methodists began at Oxford with Charles, his brother John, and famed preacher George Whitefield along with some other students who deeply desired a living and active faith in Christ. Though ordained in the Church of England, these men felt that they were stagnant in their faith. Eventually, though they initially didn’t want to, they broke from the Church of England and their denominational offspring now owns the church we worship in.
But this is the greatness of the Body of Christ: whatever differences we may have with the Methodists and John and Charles Wesley in particular, we share in praise with them as we sing the hymns they wrote. The song originated in the 1300s as a Latin hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” but Charles amended it with his own work. This song in particular demonstrates the depth of maturity of Charles Wesley’s view of the resurrection of Christ, and we can say a hearty “amen” to these words.
Christ’s resurrection, we sing, finishes “love’s redeeming work” and opens “paradise,” it explicates Christ’s Kingship, saves souls, removes the sting of death, causes us to follow our “exalted Head,” makes us “like Him” so that “like Him” we might rise.
Since Christ’s resurrection is absolutely central to the working of Redemption (Christ was raised for our Justification), it is fitting that this song would rise from our midst on Easter. Let us sing vigorously together this Sunday know that since Christ has opened Paradise, we have an advocate before the Father and will join our Exalted Head in Lord’s Day Worship in the heavens this Sunday.