"I STAND AMAZED"
"Christ also hath loved us and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice…" (Eph. 5.2).
INTRO.: A song which emphasizes the love that Christ has shown for us by giving Himself as an offering and a sacrifice for us is "I Stand Amazed," also known as "My Savior’s Love" (#186 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #303 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). Born in Iowa, he became a singing teacher and music publisher, lived in Chicago, IL, for a number of years during which time he was associated with the Homer Rodeheaver Company, and died in California. His work is known among churches of Christ primarily from the fact that he assisted T. B. Larimore in editing The New Christian Hymn Book for the Gospel Advocate in 1907. Often, he used the pseudonym "Charlotte G. Homer."
Many of his other hymns have become familiar to us, such as "Only a Step," "He Lifted Me," "Send the Light," "O That Will Be Glory," "More Like the Master," "I Will Not Forget Thee," "God Is Calling the Prodigal," and "The Gates Swing Outward Never." He composed tunes for the songs "Harvest Time," "Higher Ground," "Only In Thee," "An Evening Prayer," "Jesus, Rose of Sharon," and "The Way of the Cross Leads Home." And he wrote the text for "All Things Are Ready" (or "Come to the Feast"). Nothing is known of the circumstances of the origin of "I Stand Amazed." It was first published at Chicago in E. O. Excell’s little 1905 hymnbook Praises.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. N. Slater; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by R. C. Welch; and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by A. H. Howard; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by F. M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song mentions the many expressions of Christ’s love for us.
I. Stanza 1 says that He was "Jesus the Nazarene"
"I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, A sinner, condemned, unclean."
A. A "Nazarene" was an inhabitant of Nazareth, so this immediately implies His leaving heaven and coming to earth as a human being: Jn. 1.1, 14; Phil. 2.5-8. That Jesus was a Nazarene is identified as the subject of prophecy: Matt. 2.23; however, no specific prophecy of this nature is found in the Old Testament (note–it has nothing to do with being a Nazirite; cf. Judg. 13.5). Some suggest that the root of the name "Nazareth" is branch and that this has reference to the prophecies which call the Messiah "the branch": Isa. 11.1, Jer. 23.5, Zech. 6.12. Others suggest that it may have reference to the fact that the Messiah was to be despised and rejected in that people would say, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?": Isa. 53.3, Jn. 1.46
B. In any event, this Nazarene certainly did love us: 1 Jn. 3.16
C. And it is amazing love because He loved us even while we were yet sinners, condemned and unclean: Rom. 5.8
II. Stanza 2 says that He agonized in the garden for us
"For me it was in the garden He prayed, ‘Not My will, but Thine;’
He had no tears for His own griefs, But sweat-drops of blood for mine."
A. It was for us in the garden of Gethsemane that He prayed,"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" or "Nevertheless,
not My will, but Yours be done": Matt. 26.39, Lk. 22.42
B. Sacred Selections omits this stanza completely and Hymns for Worship changes it to, "He cried with tears in His sorrow." Apparently Shepard and Stevens felt that He did have tears for His own griefs or sorrows based on Heb. 5.7. However, through the years that I sang the song in its original version, I always thought that this meant simply that His suffering, which included the agonizing in the garden, was not for any griefs brought about by sin on His part but that all His tears and crying were the result of our sins, the just suffering for the unjust: 1 Pet. 3.18
C. The last line of this stanza might be changed to "But sweat-drops AS blood for mine" (sweat here is not a verb but an adjective describing drops which is a second object of the verb had). While I am not sure that the change of the previous line by Shepard and Stevens was necessary, I do believe that this change is warranted based on what the scriptures actually say, "And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Lk. 22.44; KJV–"And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood"). Some people teach that Jesus actually sweat blood in the garden, thus making atonement for our sins there. But the scriptures do not say that. Sometimes this passage is explained by pointing to a phenomenon known as "bloody sweat," that under extreme pressures, sometimes little blood vessels break so that some blood gets into the sweat and tinges it red or pink. That may be true, but the text does not even demand that. It is not talking about color but size and manner, saying simply that Jesus was sweating so profusely that it was pouring off Him in the same way that blood would pour off a person who was cut severely. In any event, I understand the statement to mean that all of His suffering was for us, on account of our sin: 1 Pet. 4.1
III. Stanza 3 says that He had sorrows for us
"In pity angels beheld Him, And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows He bore for my soul that night."
A. The agony of Jesus in the garden was not the end, but in fact the beginning of His sorrows, so an angel appeared from heaven, strengthening Him not only during the agony of the garden but undoubtedly for the rest of His tribulations as well: Lk. 22.43
B. And certainly Jesus did experience many sorrows for us: Isa. 53.4-9
C. And these sorrows included that very same night the unjust trial that He underwent, with all the cruel mocking: Matt. 26.47-69
IV. Stanza 4 says that He died for our sins
"He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary, And suffered, and died alone."
A. He took our sins and made them as though they were His very own: 2 Cor. 5.21, 1 Pet. 2.24
B. Thus, He bore the burden to Calvary, which is the Latin name of the place Golgotha, where Jesus died for us: Lk. 23.33, Jn. 19.17-18, 1 Cor. 15.3
C. There He suffered and died alone. The statement that He died alone is undoubtedly occasioned by His cry, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" in Mt. 27.46 (Mk. 15.34). Theologians and even brethren have debated the precise meaning and application of this phrase for years, but the usual explanation is that because Jesus was bearing our sins, it was necessary for God to turn away from Him at that time and let Him die alone.
V. Stanza 5 says that He makes possible the hope of glory
"When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see,
‘Twill be my joy through the ages To sing of His love for me."
A. "Glory" here refers to being in the very presence of God Himself: Psa. 73.24, Col. 1.27
B. When we stand in glory with the ransomed, then at last His face we shall see, for when He comes we shall see Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3.1-2
C. And at that time, we can join with the redeemed of all ages to sing of His love for us eternally: Rev. 5.8-14
CONCL.: The chorus concludes by remarking how marvellous and wonderful is Christ’s love for us.
"How marvelous! how wonderful! And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! how wonderful Is my Savior’s love for me!"
The whole song is filled with joyful praise for the suffering and sacrifice that Jesus was willing to undergo so that we might have salvation and the hope of heaven. We often use this song to prepare ourminds for partaking of the Lord’s supper, and it is a good one for that purpose. But I can sing the song anytime, and should sing it often, to remind myself that in the presence of Him who loved me and gave Himself for me, "I Stand Amazed."