Church Works Media continues to stand out as an excellent source of modern hymnology. And, this month’s HOTM is no exception. Here is a wonderful rationale that the composers wrote:
Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—let me provide a quick overview of the biblical texts and theological themes behind the hymn My Jesus Fair:
Verse 1 focuses on the irony that the curse which was given by God (pictured by the thorns of Genesis 3:18 ) was actually borne by God at Calvary (pictured by the crown of thorns).
The chorus expresses wonder at the sacrifice of the Son of God on our behalf, to which we respond with both joy and grief—abhorring our sin and adoring our Savior.
Verse 2 focuses on the scorn heaped upon our Lord at His trial and death, contrasting it with His silence and prayer for their (and our) forgiveness in Luke 23:34.
Verse 3 alludes to Colossians 2:14, where Scripture uses the powerful picture of God nailing our sins to the cross even as sinners nailed His Son to the cross.
Verse 4 is really the pinnacle of the hymn, expressing wonder at the doctrine of propitiation—that God was pleased to crush His Son and satisfied by His atoning death (Isaiah 53:10-11). It is worth considering that while we generally think in terms of the suffering of Christ, the wrath poured upon Him and the breaking of fellowship must have been infinitely grievous to the Father and Spirit, as well. The more we meditate on propitiation, the more amazed we will be. It is glorious.
Verse 5 rejoices in Christ’s slaying death by His resurrection and anticipates His glorious return. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
Here are the lyrics. You can find the printed music and more here.
My Jesus Fair
My Jesus, fair, was pierced by thorns,
By thorns grown from the fall.
Thus He who gave the curse was torn
To end that curse for all.
O love divine, O matchless grace-
That God should die for men!
With joyful grief I lift my praise,
Abhorring all my sin,
Adoring only Him.
My Jesus, meek, was scorned by men,
By men in blasphemy.
“Father, forgive their senseless sin!”
He prayed, for them, for me.
My Jesus, kind, was torn by nails,
By nails of cruel men.
And to His cross, as grace prevailed,
God pinned my wretched sin.
My Jesus, pure, was crushed by God,
By God, in judgment just.
The Father grieved, yet turned His rod
On Christ, made sin for us.
My Jesus, strong, shall come to reign,
To reign in majesty.
The Lamb arose, and death is slain.
Lord, come in victory!
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