"JESUS, AND SHALL IT EVER BE"
"Whoever…shall be ashamed of Me…of him also shall the Son…be ashamed" (Mk. 8.38)
INTRO.: A hymn which exhorts us never to be ashamed of God’s Son is "Jesus, And Shall It Ever Be" (#132 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Joseph Grigg, who was born around 1720 (some sources give the date of 1728, but this seems to be six or eight years too late) at Walthamstow in Essex, England, the son of poor parents. Originally he trained to be a mechanic, but that hampered his idealism so in 1743 he gave that up and at age 23 became assistant minister to Thomas Bures at the Presbysterian Church on Sliver St. in London, England. However, upon the death of Bures in 1747, he retired from the ministry and married a well-to-do widow of property, taking up residence at St. Albans where he devoted himself to literary work. His publications include Miscellanies on Moral and Religious Subjects and The Voice of Danger–The Voice of God, both in 1756, and Four Hymns on Divine Subjects, which included "Jesus, And Shall It Ever Be," originally in seven stanzas which were supposed to have been penned earlier when the author was ten years old (c. 1730), and perhaps his next best known hymn "Behold a Stranger at the Door."
It is reported that Grigg produced over forty hymns, including a dozen that were contributed to The Christian Magazine in 1765 and 1766. Following his death at Walthamstow near London in Essex, England, on Oct. 28, 1768, two posthumous collections of his hymns were published, Hymns by the Late Rev. Joseph Grigg in 1806 and his collected hymns and poems, Hymns on Divine Subjects edited by D. Sedgwick, in 1861. An altered version of "Jesus, and Shall It Ever Be" beginning, "Jesus, and Can It Ever Be," was published anonymously in The Gospel Magazine in 1774. The modern arrangement with some additions is said to have been made by Benjamin Francis (1734-1799). It was first published as a hymn in the 1787 Selection edited by John Rippon (1751-1836). Other alterations and additions appeared in the 1810 Selection of Portions of Psalms and Hymns edited by John Kempthorne, the 1819 Collection, 8th edition, edited by Thomas Cotterill, the 1835 Psalms and Hymns edited by Henry V. Elliot, the 1860 Methodist Free Church Hymnbook, and the 1882 Hymns for Occasional Services edited by William W. How.
The song has been set to several tunes. Many older books use one (Corinth) attributed to John Massengale. Most of our books have one (Hebron) composed by Lowell Mason and most often associated with John Dobell’s "How Pleasing to Behold and See." Sacred Selections uses one beginning with a tenor solo composed by William E. M. Hackleman. I happen to prefer one composed in 1972 by Tillit S. Teddlie, with the title "May This My Glory Be." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared using the Mason tune 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. Today it may be found with the Mason tune in the 1971 Songs of the Church (the 1975 edition adds the Teddlie tune), the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Sacred Selections with the Hackleman tune, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat with both the Mason and Teddlie tunes.
The hymn points out the different reasons why we should never be ashamed of Jesus.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that He is worthy of angelic praise
"Jesus, and shall it ever be, A mortal man ashamed of Thee!
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise, Whose glory shines through endless days."
A. Paul encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord: 2 Tim. 1.8
B. We should not be ashamed of Jesus because He is the one whom angels praise and worship: Heb. 1.6
C. Also, His glory will shine through endless days: Rev. 5.12
II. Stanza 2 tells us that He gives us light for our souls
"Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far Let evening blush to own a star;
He sheds the beams of light divine O’er this benighted soul of mine."
A. Being ashamed of Jesus is as if the evening were ashamed to own a star: Gen. 1.16
B. We should not be ashamed of Jesus because He, like the stars of evening, gives us light: Jn. 8.12
C. The reason we need this light is that our souls are benighted by the darkness of sin: Col. 1.13
III. Stanza 3 tells us that He brings us to day
"Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon Let midnight be ashamed of noon;
‘Tis midnight with my soul till He, Bright Morning Star, bids darkness flee."
A. Being ashamed of Jesus is as if the midnight were ashamed of noon: Ps. 119.62
B. We should not be ashamed of Jesus because He is the Bright Morning Star: Rev. 22.16
C. As the bright morning star, He bids the darkness flee and allows the day to dawn in our hearts: 2 Pet. 1.19
IV. Stanza 4 tells us that He is our Friend
"Ashamed of Jesus! that dear Friend On whom my hopes of heaven depend!
No! when I blush, be this my shame, That I no more revere His name."
A. We should not be ashamed of Jesus because He came to be a friend of sinners: Matt. 11.19
B. On Him our hopes of heaven depend because no one can come to the Father except by Him: Jn. 14.6
C. Rather than being ashamed of Him, we should be ashamed of not revering His name: 1 Pet. 4.15
V. Stanza 5 tells us that He has made the provision to wash away our guilt
"Ashamed of Jesus! Yes I may, When I’ve no guilt to wash away;
No tear to wipe, no good to crave, No fears to quell, no soul to save."
A. The original read, "When I’ve no crimes to wash away;" We should never be ashamed of Jesus because died for our sins, our crimes against God’s law: 1 Cor. 15.1-3
B. One benefit of Jesus’s death is that it brings us into fellowship with God who will help us wipe away our tears and quell our fears by casting all our cares upon Him: 1 Pet. 5.7
C. The most important result of Christ’s death is that our souls might be saved because He came to seek and save the lost: Lk. 19.10
VI. Stanza 6 tells us that He makes possible the hope of heaven
"Ashamed of Thee! ’twill never be; My hopes of heaven are all in Thee.
And when I come Thy face to see, O then be not ashamed of me."
A. We should not be ashamed of Jesus becaue our hopes of the inheritance in heaven are all in Him, having been begotten to this living hope by His resurrection: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
B. Someday we shall see His face when He comes again and we stand before Him in judgment: 1 Jn. 3.2
C. In order for Him not to be ashamed of us then, we must make sure that in this life we are never ashamed of His gospel: Rom. 1.16
CONCL.: In Teddlie’s version, he used the final stanza to fashion a chorus:
"Till then, nor is my boasting vain, Till then I’ll boast a Savior slain;
And O may this my glory be, That Christ is not ashamed of me!"
The 1913 Good Old Songs edited by C. H. Cayce included a new stanza added by Francis.
"His institutions would I prize, Take up my cross, and shame despise,
Dare to defend His noble cause, And yield obedience to His laws."
Even the apostle Peter denied the Lord, so we should never be so puffed up as to think it would be impossible for us to do likewise. However, our aim and goal should be that when it comes to being ashamed of the one who died for us, we should be so committed that we would say, "Jesus, And Shall It Never Be"!