We have chosen LSB 480, He’s Risen, He’s Risen, as our AD 2022 Eastertide seasonal hymn. During this joyous season, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. During the second part of Eastertide, we anticipate and remember Jesus’ Ascension and look toward to the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The first stanza opens the hymn with the joyful Easter proclamation of the angel/s to the two women at the tomb, “He’s risen.”1 By His Resurrection, our Lord, the God-man Jesus Christ, has defeated death!2 In response, the heavenly hosts break forth in jubilant song,3 and all creation joins in the great hymn of praise.4
The second and third stanzas continue with an emphasis on Jesus’ conflict with the enemy, namely Satan and his minions; a theme which we visited in the Invocavit (first Sunday in Lent) readings.5 Completely rejecting the purpose of our Lord’s taking on of human flesh, the foe thought he had achieved a great victory when He was crucified.6 Yet, this “victory” was fleeting.7 Note the reminder here that Jesus is Lord of creation, who alone has the power to defeat death!8 He “descended into hell, conquered the devil, destroyed hell’s power, and took from the devil all his might.”9 The banner which our conquering Lord lifts on high is His crucified and risen Self.10 He lives now and into eternity.11
The fourth and fifth stanzas conclude the hymn with a reflection on what this means for us. Our Lord’s death on the Cross atoned for our sins, and His Resurrection declared us right with the Father.12 Death no longer stings. Jesus is risen and therefore we too shall rise again to eternal life in Him.13 We are free to praise the Lord, joining with the heavenly hosts in their jubilant song, and proclaiming the good news of His salvation to all.14
Both the text and the tune of He’s Risen, He’s Risen were penned by Rev. Dr. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (1811-87), first President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), and of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and a man who by God’s grace made seminal theological contributions to the Church.15 Walther was devoted to the restoration of confessional Lutheran liturgical practices, which had been lost in the church in Saxony, from whence he had emigrated to America. He was gifted musically as well, understood the power of the congregational singing of confessional hymns, wrote hymns of his own, and published the first LCMS hymnal.
Walther wrote He’s Risen, He’s Risen on the Feast of the Resurrection, April 8, 1860. At the time, he had suffered a breakdown due to ill health, coupled with stress and fatigue, and was on his way to a sabbatical in Germany to rest and recuperate. Yet, at his lowest, Walther could find tremendous comfort and joy in Christ-crucified and risen for him, as can you. Alleluia, He is risen! We are thankful that you have joined with us this day to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection and pray His richest blessings on you as you receive His gifts in our midst.
- See Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6. Note the parallel to the proclamation of our Lord’s Nativity (Luke 2:10-12)
- See for example, Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 20:14, 21:4. For a detailed discussion on The Person of Christ, see Formula of Concord, Epitome and Solid Declaration, Article VIII. If you do not own a copy of The Book of Concord, you may access these online at https://thebookofconcord.org (accessed 8 March, AD 2022)
- Revelation 5:9-10, 12-13
- Psalm 96:11-12; Psalm 97:1; Psalm 98:7-8
- Genesis 3:15; Matthew 4:1-11
- See for example Matthew 27:22-23; Mark 15:13-14; Luke 23:21, 23; John 19:6, 15
- Revelation 12:7-12a
- See for example John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2, 10
- 1 Peter 3:19-20. Quote from Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article IX, paragraph 2 (also accessible at https://thebookofconcord.org).
- Isaiah 11:10, 12; Revelation 5:6
- See for example Matthew 28:20b
- Romans 4:25, 5:9-11 (1 Corinthians 15:17)
- 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
- Psalm 105:1-3; Isaiah 12:1-6. Note that the Hebrew word hosanna means, “save now,” and actually contains in it the Very Name of Jesus (Matthew 1:21). By singing to God to save us, we are doing that which he has commanded us (c.f. Second Commandment). We praise Him as we acknowledge that He saved us at Calvary, delivered that salvation to us at our Baptisms, and has promised to continually gift us His forgiveness, life and salvation through His Word and Supper.
- A detailed biography of Walther is beyond the scope of this brief write-up. Further information is available at Dennis Marzolf, “He’s risen, He’s risen, Christ Jesus, the Lord,” in Joseph Herl, Peter C. Reske, Jon D. Vieker, eds. Lutheran Service Book, Companion to the Hymns, Volume 1 (St. Louis: CPH, 2019), pp. 384-385. Also, Dennis Marzolf, “Walther, C. F. W.” in Joseph Herl, Peter C. Reske, Jon D. Vieker, eds. Lutheran Service Book, Companion to the Hymns, Volume 2 (St. Louis: CPH, 2019), pp. 731-732.