Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice

Today’s offering from Sing Praise is one that I am already familiar with: “Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice” by Matt Redman.  It’s clearly a ‘song’ rather than a ‘hymn’ both in its structure and in being phrased in the first person as a personal act of devotion rather than a statement of faith.

In the first verse I (as singer) contrast Jesus going willingly to his death with the gift of life that he gave to me by doing so.  The response, expressed in the chorus, is to be humbled (because there’s nothing I can do adequately to repay him for such a gift), broken (because I recognise the sin in my own life that caused him such pain), thankful (because that life is a free gift), and in return “pour out my life”, not in the same way but in the sense of offering my time and talents in his service.  Humbled, broken, thankful and committed: the four steps of repentance beautifully expressed in this short chorus. That, I think, is why the song appeals to me.

The second verse looks beyond the cross to the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ as “King of the heavens”, but quickly returns to the present reality: “But for now I marvel at this saving grace, and I’m full of praise once again”.  There is also a short bridge before a repeat of the chorus, “thank you for the cross, my friend”.  Calling Jesus, King of the heavens, “my friend” seems incredibly arrogant, yet that is what he calls us, and friendship once established is mutual. Its another of the deep mysteries of faith that the one who is beyond time and space is at the same time so close and intimate, that we can call him ‘friend’.

1 thought on “Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice”

  1. I too know this hymn of old, although I must admit that sometimes it gets chosen too often for my liking in our church (I don’t choose ALL the music myself!) and familiarity dulls its effect – a bit like “Shine Jesus shine” (Sing Praise 108). And for the reasons Stephen lists above, I do like it.

    I feel it needs to be said that actually the song does have several “design faults” (if I could put it like that). It does have a couple of rhymes – but actually, only three in the whole song, and v2 is very slightly different from v1 in its rhythm. It’s a soloist’s song rather than a congregational song, and the syncopated rhythm is rarely grasped when a congregation sings it: the first line is bad enough, but the “once again”s at the end of lines 4 and 5 of each verse are beyond hope. It almost always sounds sloppy when the average church music group tackles it, for this reason. I was interested that the editors marked the “bridge” (the repeated “Thank you for the cross”) as “optional” because I do think that Matt could have made more effort to come up with a better line at this point (I’m one of those who thinks that bridges, in the structure v1-ch-v2-ch-br-ch, are too often used as an excuse for dodging the hard work of actually writing a proper third verse which will do justice to the first two verses).

    But all that aside, it’s still a nice song.

Comments are closed.