Tuesday Hymns: “Jesus, My Great High Priest”

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote over 700 hymns and was called the “Father of English Hymnody.” His writings include Joy to the World, Jesus Shall Reign, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed, O God, Our Help in Ages Past (which, Lord willing, I desire to be sung at my funeral) and our Tuesday Hymn for this Week: Jesus, My Great High Priest.

Watts has packed so much solid theology into this poem: the Substitutionary atonement (v. 1), Christ’s active obedience (v. 2), Christ’s active intercession at the right hand of the Father (v. 3), and the Christian’s assurance of final victory in Christ (v.4). All of this, of course, comes to us because Christ was “able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” (Heb. 7:25-26)

This hymn is sung to the tune, BEVAN.

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered his blood and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside.
His pow’rful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the Throne.

To this dear Surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfills
His Father’s broken laws.
Behold my soul at freedom set;
My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

My Advocate appears
For my defense on high;
The Father bows his ears
And lays his thunder by.
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn his heart, his love, away.

Should all the hosts of death
And pow’rs of hell unknown
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
His conqu’ring pow’r and guardian grace.

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