“Wounded For Me”

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities" (Isa. 53.5)

     INTRO.: A hymn that is based on the idea that Jesus was wounded for our transgressions is "Wounded For Me" (#247 in Hymns for Worship Revised). Of course, the means by which Jesus was wounded for us was on the cross, and death by crucifixion was one of the most horrible ways to die. No Roman citizen was crucified since this means of execution was reserved only for Rome’s worst enemies. However, this is exactly what Christ suffered in accomplishing our redemption from sin. And before He was hung on the cross, He was tortured with the scourge, which cut into the skin and would tear off chunks of flesh from a person’s body. This hymn reminds us of all these things.

     The text of the first stanza was written and the tune (Ovens or For Me) was composed both by William G. Ovens, who was born in 1870. The other stanzas were provided by Gladys Wescott (some sources say Watkin–one could be a middle name, the other a maiden name; or one could be a misprint) Roberts, who was born in 1888. Little is known about either Ovens or Roberts, except that Ovens died in 1945. The song is dated 1931. The five stanzas of this beautiful hymn cover the entire story of redemption, beginning with the Savior’s suffering on the cross, running through His death, resurrection, and ascension, and leading up to His second coming. Some of our books leave out one or two stanzas, but it has been suggested that this is one of those songs that when it is sung all of the stanzas should be used and none omitted. However, simply knowing and singing about Christ’s suffering and death are not enough. We must make personal application of these facts to our lives. Each one of us must remember and be singing that it was "FOR ME."

     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 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard; in addition to Hymns for Worship.

     This hymn can be useful in bringing to our remembrance what Jesus went through for every one of us.

I. From stanza 1 we learn that Jesus was wounded for us.
"Wounded for me, wounded for me, There on the cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my trangressions, and now I am free, All because Jesus was wounded for me."
 A. We know that the prophecy of Isaiah about the suffering servant who was wounded for our transgressions was fulfilled in Jesus Christ: Acts 8.32-35
 B. Because Jesus was wounded for us, our transgressions can be gone, our sins can be washed away: Acts 22.16
 C. As a result, we can be free from sin and become servants of righteousness: Rom. 6.17-18

II. From stanza 2 we learn that Jesus died for us
"Dying for me, dying for me, There on the cross He was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see, All because Jesus was dying for me."
 A. One of the most basic facts of the scripture is that because God loved us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins: Rom. 5.8, 1 Cor. 15.1-3
 B. His death was accomplished on the cross, the message of which is God’s power to save us: Rom. 1.16, 1 Cor. 1.18
 C. Therefore, in the blood that He shed on the cross, we can see our redemption: Eph. 1.7

III. From stanza 3 we learn that Jesus arose from the dead for us
"Risen for me, risen for me, Up from the grave He has risen for me;
Now evermore from death’s sting I am free, All because Jesus was risen for me."
 A. The death of Jesus Christ was not just that of a martyr for a good cause, but was a vicarious atonement and was validated by His
resurrection: Rom. 1.3-5
 B. The greatest evidence for His resurrection is the empty grave, confirmed by the eyewitness testimony of the apostles: Acts 2.22-32
 C. The resurrection of Christ, and its resultant hope of our resurrection when He comes again, frees us from the sting of death: 1
Cor. 15.50-57

IV. From stanza 4 we learn that Jesus is now living for us
"Living for me, living for me, Up in the skies He is living for me;
Daily He’s pleading and praying for me, All because Jesus is living for me."
 A. Jesus is not just a dead hero, but a resurrected Lord and therefore a living Savior who ascended into heaven: Acts 1.9-11
 B. At this very moment He is seated at the right hand of God as our King and High Priest: Heb. 1.1-4
 C. Living in heaven, He now reigns and makes intercession for us: Heb. 7.24-29

V. From stanza 5 we learn that Jesus will be coming for us
"Coming for me, coming for me, One glorious day He is coming for me;
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see, Oh, how I praise Him, He’s coming for me."
 A. This same Jesus, who was crucified, rose again, and ascended into heaven, will someday come from heaven for His people and take them home to be with Him: Phil. 3.20-21
 B. This will happen "one glorious day," although we know not when that day will be: Matt. 24.36. (The original second line of this stanza read "One day to earth He is coming for me." Most of our books that have the stanza change it to "One day my Savior is coming for me," but I like the wording in Hymns for Worship; it seems to fit the music better.)
 C. But when it comes, we know that His dear face we shall see: 1 Jn. 3.1-3

     CONCL.: Sometimes when this song is used to prepare a congregation’s minds for the Lord’s supper, the final stanza is omitted. Of course, the final stanza does not specifically refer to anything about the suffering and death of Jesus, but since the purpose of the Lord’s supper is to "proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes" (1 Cor. 11.26), it is fitting to be reminded of His coming as well when observing the supper. While this song does mention the physical suffering that Christ endured on the cross, it also emphasizes the fact that it was the weight of human sin that He bore which was the real cause of His death. Therefore, whenever I think about the redemptive work that Christ has provided for all mankind, I also need to remember and rejoice in the fact that Jesus was "Wounded For Me."


2 thoughts on ““Wounded For Me”

  1. I haven't dropped by in awhile, but continue to appreciate your work in posting and explaining hymns.

    I do find your registration page impossible to navigate, so have been unable to tell you who I am!

    As to William Gilbert Ovens, actually I know quite a lot about this remarkable man–and how his chorus came to be written. (I was hoping you could shed some light on the identity of Gladys Roberts, but I see she's a mystery to you to!) To learn a bit about Ovens, I invite you to check out my daily blog on hymn history, Wordwise Hymns, at… http://www.wordwisehymns.com

  2. from http://www.wordwisehymns.com
    November 18, 2009
    Today in 1945 – William Ovens Died
    The background of a hymn attributed to Ovens came to light after a long search–a search that still goes on! William Gilbert Ovens was an English clergyman who, for over 30 years, conducted children’s meetings in Northern Ireland under the Children’s Special Service Mission (now a part of Scripture Union). The hymn that bears his name is Wounded for Me. But none of my resources gave any information on the song. Finally, contacting Scripture Union in Britain yielded the following story.

    One day in the years following the First World War, W. G. Ovens saw a wounded veteran limping past on the street and was impressed by the thought that, in a sense, the young man had taken that wound for him. After the soldier passed by, he instantly drew a parallel to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Bible says was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isa. 53:5).

    Ovens was a man with a single purpose in life. It was said of him “the consuming passion of his life was Jesus Christ–to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, to share with others the joy he found in Him, to lead others to Him, and to draw still others nearer to Him.” And one observed, “There was no shadow of compromise with him. He had no time for half-heartedness or lukewarmness.” After the above incident, Ovens wrote a little chorus that says:

    Wounded for me, wounded for me,
    There on the cross He was wounded for me;
    Gone my transgressions and now I am free,
    All because Jesus was wounded for me.

    Later the chorus was expanded into a hymn by Gladys Watkin (or Westcott?) Roberts (1888-?). I still have not been able to get any more information on Roberts. But she added four more stanzas that complete the picture of Jesus dying for me, risen for me, living for me, finally ending with:

    Coming for me, coming for me,
    One day to earth He is coming for me;
    Then with what joy His dear face I shall see,
    O how I praise Him–He’s coming for me!

    Thanks for the additional information (WSW).


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