Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature, Son of God and Son of Man! You will I cherish, you will I honor, You’re my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.
A Hymn for Troubled Christians
We do not know much about the origin of this well-loved hymn. It reminds us of Colossians 1:16: “In Christ all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities. All things have been created through Christ and for Him.” This Scripture reminds us that Jesus, Son of the living God, created everything and sustains everything for His own glory and honor and for our enjoyment. Remembering Christ’s supremacy sustains our gladness, hope, and resilience in tough times. The Apostle James wrote: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”1
Our source reports that the hymn was sung by followers of Czech Pastor Jan Hus (1369-1415). Hus was burned at the stake 600 over years ago for his biblical beliefs and his criticism of the corrupt church. Before his death he wrote: “It is better to die well than to live badly. I hope, by God’s grace, that I am truly a Christian. I would rather suffer the penalty of a terrible death than to affirm anything outside of God’s truth or transgress the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Hus’s followers settled in Silesia (now part of Poland) after they were driven out of Bohemia in the bloody anti-Reformation purge of 1620. “Fairest Lord Jesus” is a hymn that reminds believers to stand firm for Christ when faced with opposition.
Jesus said: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.2
This hymn is not a Christmas carol, but it is a Christ-centered song. It was first written in German and later translated into English.
Link to Psalm 45
The opening line seems to come from Psalm 45:2: “You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.” (NKJ) The Hebrew word for fairest is yaphah and can also be translated excellent, bright, beautiful, or handsome. Jesus Christ is our glorious Lord.
The Original Setting
Psalm 45 is a Wedding Song, yet it points up to God (Father, Son, and Spirit) as the Bridegroom of His people. It is like Song of Songs (Solomon) in that way. Isaiah 61:10 says: “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a Bridegroom adorns His head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” God also calls Himself a Husband in other Old Testament Scriptures. Parts of Psalm 45 are Messianic, parts are not. Some verses seem to fit a king’s wedding, while other verses are too magnificent and point ahead to Christ alone, the King of kings. Psalm 45:6,17 says “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever. A scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom….I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.” Only Jesus is worthy of our endless adoration!
Christ Fulfills Psalm 45 in His 1st and 2nd Comings
Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes Psalm 45:6-7 as fulfilled in Jesus. Christ is called the Bridegroom of His followers in the New Testament Gospels and Epistles. Jesus loved the church (His Church). He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.3
Christ’s true Church is made up of all His repenting and believing people around the world for all times. Christians are blessed with saving faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work and we are united together in the one Body of Christ. We are not meant to follow Christ in isolation from other believers! The Church finds our visible, yet imperfect, expression in local congregations where King Jesus is loved, worshiped, and served. For our perfecting, we await the return of our Lord.4
The end of the Bible foretells Christ’s 2nd Coming. The Book of Revelation says: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Jesus glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready….Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away….I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her Husband….The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”5
These Scriptures speak of the blessedness of Christ’s followers when He returns and also invite people to come to Jesus, while there still is time, and be reconciled to God through Him. Will you come?
Getting Ready for Jesus’ Return
How do we prepare? These points of worthy of more explanation, but I will simply list them here and cover them in class:
- We Must Know Jesus, Not Just Know About Him (Matt 7:21-23, 25:1-13)
- Pursue Christ-like Holiness and Godliness (2 Peter 3:10-18)
- Encourage Fellow Believers (1 Thess 5:1-11; Heb 10:24-25)
- Persevere with Confidence in Jesus (1 Corinthians chapter 15, esp. v. 58)
- Hang on to Our Living Hope in Christ (1 Peter 1:3-8)
The hymn “Fairest Lord Jesus” reminds us that:
- Christ is still in charge of His universe. And He’s got the whole world and us in His hands.
- Our current fears, dangers, discontentments, and divisions will pass away, like all other troubles.
- Now is our opportunity to be God’s Christ-like children in this fallen world, shining for Him and offering everyone Jesus’ wonderful words of life.6
The Bible shows us that none of our troubles will win the day. Jesus wins! And when Christ returns, God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) will dwell with us and be our God. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.7 That’s why we have hope in Jesus, beloved. So let’s cheer up!
To be continued
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Notes (various Bible translations used): 1 James 1:12. 2 Matt 5:10-12. 3 Eph 5:25-27. 4 Adapted from “The Essentials” of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. 5 Rev 19:7, 21:1-2, 22:17. 6 See Phil 2:14-16. 7 Rev 21:1-4.