LSB 743 Jesus Priceless Treasure

We have chosen LSB 743, Jesus, Priceless Treasure, as our AD 2023  Lenten seasonal hymn. The 40-day (not counting Sundays) season of  Lent is penitential, as we contemplate our sin and need for a Savior,  in the run-up to the Feast of the Resurrection. Long ago, Lent became  penitential in tone as those who had lapsed from the true confession  of The Faith went through a time of penance as part of the process of  their being restored to the fellowship of Christian believers. Lent is a  time of fasting, as we remember our Lord’s 40 days of temptation.1 

Our hymn, which we sing every year on Laetare (“Rejoice” Lent 4)  Sunday, is a beautiful and powerful meditation on the Savior we so  desperately need and which God, out of His grace and mercy, has  provided for us in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first stanza begins with our sung confession that Jesus is indeed our “priceless  treasure,” “purest pleasure,” and our “truest friend.” We continue in  the second stanza with the proclamation that none of the trials in this  vale of tears can shake our faith in Him. Just as Jesus proclaimed on  the Cross that His Father would never fail Him, we too confess that He  will never fail us, as we remain in Him, confessing our sins and  receiving His forgiveness.2In the third stanza, we directly address  Satan. None of his accusations and temptations can harm or alarm us,  while we “sing of peace,” namely, remain focused on our  reconciliation to the Father, having been declared right with Him at  our Lord’s Resurrection, as taught in Scripture.3In so addressing the 

evil one, we follow the pattern Jesus modeled for us at His  temptation.4In the end, God wins.5 

We continue in the fourth stanza by reemphasizing our confession  that Jesus is our choice over and above all earthly treasure.6 Nothing in this Cosmos, or evil world, can separate us from Him and His  sacrificial love for us.7 As a result, we can confess in the fifth stanza  that we are not bound to this evil world. We conclude in the sixth  stanza with a recapitulation of the hymn’s premise, namely that Jesus  is our purest pleasure and our priceless treasure. All of the “storms”  of which we sing here: our fear, lightnings, thunder, pain, loss, shame,  evil and sadness, are a result of human sin. We indeed are in dire need  of the Savior Whom God gave. 

This hymn’s text was written by Johann Franck (1618-77), a Lutheran  layman (attorney and poet), in the aftermath of the devastation of the  Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).8In the midst of all of the loss he suffered,  he derived great comfort in knowing that in Jesus, he had all he ever  could possibly need. The Church Fathers, in their wisdom, set aside  Lent to help us emerge from our incurving to self and focus on all He  has done and continues to do for us. The “I’s” of the hymn remind us  of all He has done for each of us. Our voices are joined as we make  common confession of this basic Truth. We give thanks to God for  bringing you here today to receive His gifts with us, and we pray His  richest blessings upon you. 

End notes 

1. Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2 
2. Luke 23:46 (Psalm 31:5); 1 Peter 1:6-9; 1 John 1:8-9 
3. Romans 4:25 (Luke 2:14; John 20:19,21,26). C.f. LSB 380.1; 594.3 4. Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 4:1-13
5. Philippians 2: 10-11 
6. Note that this does not argue for a free-will “decision for Jesus”; it is  clear in the context of the hymn text that God is drawing us to Him.  C.f. for example John 6:37, 44. 
7. Romans 8:38-39 
8. For more information on him, please ask Dr. Roni Grad.

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