"Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; Sing the ending of the fray. Now above the cross, the trophy, Sound the loud triumphant lay; Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer, As a victim won the day.
"Faithful cross, true sign of triumph, Be for all the noblest tree; None in foliage, none in blossom, None in fruit thine equal be; Symbol of the world's redemption, For the weight that hung on Thee!"
Our hymn celebrates the cross as a trophy, an emblem of victory. The cross is not the "true sign of triumph" because it was covered with gold or silver like the world's shining awards. The rough-hewn wooden cross was the "symbol of the world's redemption" because of the weight that hung from it, the blessed weight of God.
We do not usually think of God as having weight, and rightly so: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). He is the God who "dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see" (1 Timothy 6:16a). Yet in Jesus Christ, "all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1:19b). In Jesus, God had weight. God took on human flesh, from the few pounds of the newborn infant in the manger in Bethlehem, to the weight of a little boy in Nazareth, to the young man who grew into adulthood and proclaimed His kingdom.
God in Christ also knew a greater weight. Jesus "has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ... and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4a, 6b). For the sake of our salvation, Jesus took up the heavy burden of the cross. The weight of God the Son hung from the cross as Jesus suffered and died to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus' body was taken down from the cross and His followers carried that sad weight to the tomb.
On the first Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead. Unbelievers today may say that Jesus did rise from death, but that He arose only in spirit or merely lived on in the memories of His followers. By faith we know the truth, expressed in the eyewitness testimony of Jesus' disciples. Jesus rose bodily, physically, from death. The risen Lord came to His astonished disciples and invited them, "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Luke 24:39).
The day is coming when we, like those first disciples, will see God the Son, Jesus our Lord, in the flesh. When Jesus returns on the Last Day, we will be raised bodily from death as He was raised and know once again the weight of living flesh, ours and His, the blessed weight of God the Son.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, I look forward to the day of Your return. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle," which is number 454 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever won a trophy? Does this accomplishment carry a different or expanded meaning for you today than when you first won it?
2. How is it possible that Jesus could bear the weight of the world's sin in His body?
3. Do you think anything could weaken your faith if you had seen Jesus alive after His crucifixion?
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