Tuesday Hymns: “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended”

Johann Heermann (1585-1647) was a German Lutheran poet and pastor whose 62 years were filled with sickness, the death of loved ones, the loss of all his worldly possessions, and the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. Yet, his hymns again and again speak of the goodness and the mercy of God being poured out on undeserving sinners. Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended, our Tuesday Hymn, is one such hymn. The hymn speaks much of the sinner’s sin, and even more of the glorious grace of God. We usually sing it to the tune, Iste Confessor.

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.

Lo, the good Shepherd for the sheep is offered:
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered:
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation:
Thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

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2 Comments

  1. Joshua Miller said,

    February 26, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Great hymn. We just sang it in our Wednesday Lenten service this week. We use the original German tune setting (Herzliebster Jesu), though I’ve sung it in chapel at Luther to Iste Confessor. There are also about 10 more verses, but then again it’s a German hymn. We usually sing all the verses of it and of “O Sacred Head” with the Gospel readings of the passion narrative interspersed for Good Friday. It makes for a very solemn and moving tone to meditate on Christ’s sufferings for us. Another good one in terms of sin and forgiveness is “Savior When in Dust to Thee,” usually used by Lutherans on Ash Wednesday. Like this one and “O Sacred Head” it makes the clear link between our sins and Christ’s suffering and righteousness, what Luther refered to as “the joyful exchange.”

  2. cliftonr said,

    February 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    To quote J. Gresham Machen, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.”


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