Wed, May 6, 2015
–By Elizabeth Ahlman
This week’s Easter Season in Song hymn, “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” (Lutheran Service Book, 480) was chosen by Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) Missionary Denise Schlesselman. Denise serves in Karvina, Czech Republic where she works with the local church body to reach out to the community through English-language classes, talk groups and other activities. Denise says of her choice:
This is one of my favorites because I like the tune and the words. Whenever I hear this hymn I remember it in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Concordia, MO. We were at this church for almost every Easter when I was growing up, and they always had trumpets with this song. My favorite verses are verses two and three. It starts with the foe being triumphant when Jesus was nailed to the tree and talks about how in Satan’s domain his hosts shouted and jeered because Jesus was dead. It reminds me that Jesus really did die for me. The story doesn’t end there and the next verse tells the rest of the story. “But short was their triumph; the Savior arose, and death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes. The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high; He lives, yes, He lives and will nevermore die.” This reminds me how He also rose for me to forgive me and give me eternal life. It is especially meaningful with trumpets because the loud blasts of the trumpets make me think of the powerful way God defeated Satan and brought us salvation. These are some reasons it’s one of my favorite Easter hymns.
Denise’s description points right to the most striking part of this hymn, focusing in on just one of the many “reversals” accomplished by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
2. The foe was triumphant when on Calvary
The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree.
In Satan’s domain did the hosts shout and jeer,
For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones fear.
3. But short was their triumph; the Savior arose,
And death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes.
The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high;
He lives, yes, He lives, and will never-more die.
Satan of course, has tried hard throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth to fight against Him. He meets with Jesus in the desert in order to tempt Him into denying God or taking His crown in the way not intended. Satan, the prince of “this world,” thinks he actually has the power to GIVE such a crown. And that He could actually convince the Son of God to accept a lesser crown. He’s not successful in that desert, of course, and even as he comes at Jesus with his demons throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, he fails again and again.
Then, he enters into Judas and from that moment on, it appears as though he is winning. Jesus is betrayed with a kiss, dragged from Herod to Pilate, falsely accused and beaten with whips. Finally, Pilate turns him over to the crowd, thirsty for His blood, and sends Him to be crucified. Surely, as the hymn points out, Satan and his hordes must have rejoiced. Certainly, a bloodied, crucified, dead Christ looked like victory to the King of Death.
However, Satan and his hordes cannot celebrate for long: God raises Jesus from the dead on the third day proving once and for all that Satan has been crushed and defeated. He cannot win. He never did. Not even one second of Jesus’ death was Satan’s victory because that death rescued the rest of Satan’s victims from death — that death and that resurrection guarantee that our triumphant Lord with banner held high will pull us also from the grip of Satan and death. He will never die again, and He will bring us into that eternal life of bodily resurrection and victory over the devil, death and hell itself. Thanks be to our Risen Lord!
4. O, where is your sting, death? We fear you no more;
Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden’s door.
For all our transgressions His blood does atone;
Redeemed and forgiven, we now are His own.
Let us Pray: Lord God, Heavenly Father, we give You thanks and praise for sending Your Son to conquer our greatest enemies; grant that we may ever live in that victory so that Satan may have no dominion over us; we pray this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
- Learn more about Denise and her work.
- Please note the following credits for the recording used in the video:Hauptwerk: This non-commercial production, legal by virtue of product purchase, was made possible in part by Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ instrument software. © 2014 Milan Digital Audio LLC. All rights reserved.Organ Art Media: The use of the 1686/1720 Bosch/F. C. Schnitger organ for this non-commercial production was made possible by the gracious permission of Prof. Helmut Maier. © 2014 OrganArt Media 2006 Kusterdinger Straße 48 D-72827 Wannweil. All rights reserved.
© 2015 Christopher S. Ahlman. All rights reserved.