“Jesus Calls Us”

"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me" (Matt. 10.38)

     INTRO.: Jesus want us to serve and follow Him, and a hymn that talks about accepting and following His call is "Jesus Calls Us" (#225 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #298 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was writen by Mrs. Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander (1818-1895). Already a well-known hymnwriter before her marriage to an Anglican minister in 1850, she was asked two years later to write a poem for a sermon that he was planning to preach for the festival of St. Andrew’s Day as celebrated in the Anglican Church. She did and it was first published in the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge Tract #15, "Hymns for Public Worship" in 1852.

     The most commonly used tune (Galilee or Jude) was composed by William Herbert Jude, who was bron at Westleton in Suffolk, England, in Sept. of 1851, and began his musical career as an organist at the Blue Coat Hospital in Liverpool, where he served for a number of years.  Produced for Mrs. Alexander’s text, this melody first appeared in The Congregational Church Hymnal, edited by G. S. Barrett and Edward John Hopkins, and published in London, England, in 1887. It has become his best-known musical work. Two years later, Jude became organist at Stretford Town Hall, near Manchester. As a popular music lecturer and recitalist, he travelled extensively throughout Great Britain and even Australia.

     Beginning in 1904, Jude also served as an editor for several musical magazines, including Monthly Hymnal, Minister of Music, and Music and the Higher Life, as well as a compiler of a couple of hymnbooks, namely Mission Hymns in 1911 and Festival Hymns in 1916. In addition to being a distinguished organist, he is also credited with an opera, Innocents Abroad, and some operettas, as well as many part songs and choral anthems. He died in London, England, on Aug. 7, 1922.

     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 (the 1975 Supplement adds a 1974 tune by Leonard Burford) both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. 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 Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns (with the Burford tune) edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised (with both Jude and Burford tunes) edited by Forrest 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 challenges us to hear Christ’s call, follow, serve, and love Him.

I. Stanza 1 is based on the picture of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called His first disciples
"Jesus calls us o’er the tumult Of our life’s wild, restless sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, Saying, ‘Christian, follow Me.’"
 A. The story is found in Matt. 4.18-20
 B. These men went on to become His chosen apostles through whom the word was revealed and confirmed: Matt. 10.1-4
 C. While no one is called to be an apostle today, Jesus still challenges us to follow Him even though we may be tossed by the tumult of life’s restless sea: Jn. 12.25-26

II. Stanza 2 specifically mentions Andrew as one of those who heard the call
"As of old Saint Andrew heard it By the Galilean lake,
(Many denominational hymnals that use this stanza alter it to "th’apostles heard it")
Turned from home and toil and kindred, Leaving all for Jesus’ sake."
 A. We are introduced to Andrew when he first follows Jesus after John the Baptist points out the Lord as the Lamb of God: Jn. 1.35-42
 B. Apparently, after Jesus and many of the men who later became His apostles returned to Galilee, the Lord then called Andrew with Peter, James, and John to follow Him: Mk. 1.16-20
 C. Like the others, Andrew also left all for Jesus’s sake: Matt. 19.27

III. Stanza 3 applies this call to each of us as individuals
"Jesus calls us from the worship Of the vain world’s golden store;
From each idol that would keep us, Saying, ‘Christian, love Me more.’"
 A. Jesus calls us in such a way that we must put following Him absolutely first in our lives: Matt. 6.33
 B. Therefore, He calls us from the worship of any idol, whether golden or mental that would stand between us and Him: 1 Jn. 5.21
 C. And, as He later did to Peter, He tells us to love Him more: Jn. 21.15-19

IV. Stanza 4 says that to follow Jesus’ call we must subordinate ourselves to Him
"In our joys and in our sorrows, Days of toil, and hours of ease;
Still He calls, in cares and pleasures, ‘Christian, love Me more than these.’"
 A. Our days are filled sometimes with joy and sometimes with sorrow, with both days of toil and hours of ease, but we Jeesus still wants us to follow Him no matter what: Lk. 9.23-26
 B. Therefore, He continues to call us in our cares and in our pleasures: Matt. 11.28-30
 C. And what He calls us to do is to love Him so that all of our worldly pursuits give way to our devotion to Him and His service: Mk. 12.29-30

V. Stanza 5 expresses the desire that we might hear this call and make it our desire to follow Him.
"Jesus calls us: by Thy mercies, Savior, make us hear Thy call;
Give our hearts to Thine obedience, Sever and love Thee best of all."
 A. Through His gospel, Jesus still calls us: 2 Thess. 2.13-14
 B. The original read, "May we hear Thy call," but Mrs. Alexander herself changed it in 1881 for its inclusion in Church Hymns. Of course, the making is done not by coercion but by persuasion: Jn. 1.35-37
 C. And the way that we respond to the call is by giving our hearts to complete obedience: Heb. 5.8-9

     CONCL.: There is no authority in the scriptures for the celebration of religious festivals such as St. Andrew’s Day. However, we we do admire Andrew because he was one of the very first disciples of Jesus and because he not only came himself but also brought his brother Peter. May we respond as did Andrew and those other early disciples to become Christ’s faithful followers and fishers of men when in His word "Jesus Calls Us."


One thought on ““Jesus Calls Us”

  1. Thanks for posting these. So much research goes into them and they are so well written. I have used them several times for Sunday School lessons, devotions and study.


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