"JESUS IS PASSING THIS WAY"
"He was to pass that way" (Lk. 19.4)
INTRO.: A song which teaches and admonishes us to look unto Jesus for salvation as if He were passing by us in a manner similar to that which He did when He lived on earth, is "Jesus Is Passing This Way." The text was written by Elisha Albright Hoffman (1839-1929). Hoffman is well known for such gospel songs as "I Must Tell Jesus" and "Are You Washed in the Blood?" The tune for "Jesus Is Passing This Way" was composed by John Harrison Tenney (1840-1918). He provided melodies for other hymns like "Come to Jesus" and "I Will Pray." The song "Jesus Is Passing This Way" is dated 1887 and was first published that year in Ira David Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the chorus only appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson. The only place where I have seen the whole song is in The Finest of the Wheat of 1890 edited by George D. Elderkin. It is not to be confused with a similar song also entitled "Jesus Is Passing This Way" that was produced by Annie L. James, a pseudonym for Frances Jane Crosby VanAlstyne, better known by her maiden name which she used professionally for her work, Fanny J. Crosby, and her long-time collaborator, William Howard Doane. I do not know exactly when this second song was first published or its origin of publication. It does not appear in any hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ of which I am aware. I have seen it in the 1940 Broadman Hymnal edited by B. B. McKinney, the 1951 Church Hymnal published by the Tennessee Music and Printing Company, and the 1956 Heavenly Highway Hymns edited by Luther G. Presley for Stamps-Baxter Music.
"Jesus Is Passing This Way" could well serve as an effective invitation song.
I. Stanza 1 speaks to the heart that longs for pardon
"Is there a sinner awaiting Mercy and pardon today?
Welcome the news that we bring Him: ‘Jesus is passing this way.’"
A. Today, there are people who are aware of their sin and are waiting for someome to declare Christ’s message of salvation to them just as many who were sick were waiting for the angel to come andstir the pool of
Bethseda: Jn. 5.3
B. The truth is that all who are lost need pardon, and the scriptures present unto us a pardoning God: Mic. 7.18
C. However, to receive this pardon, people must be willing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ: Acts 2.22-24
II. Stanza 2 speaks to the heart that seeks forgiveness
"Brother, the Master is waiting, Waiting to freely forgive;
Why not this moment accept Him, Trust in His grace, and live?
A. The lost should be reminded that Jesus is waiting for them to come that they might find mercy and be saved: Tit. 3.5
B. What they need more than anything else in this life is to be forgiven of sin: Eph. 1:7
C. However, they need to understand the need to go quickly now, because today is the day of salvation: 2 Cor. 6.2
III. Stanza 3 speaks to the heart that is looking for redemption
"Yes, He is coming to bless you, While in contrition you bow;
Coming from sin to redeem you, Ready to save you now."
A. Jesus wants to bless us and has demonstrated His love by dying for us: Eph. 5.2
B. However, receiving His blessings requires that we bown before Him in contrition or godly sorrow: 2 Cor. 7:
C. When we do this, He is ready to redeem us from sin: Heb. 9:12
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that there is a sense in which Jesus
is passing by us today.
"Jesus is passing this way, Today, today.
While He is near, O believe Him; Open your heart to receive Him
For Jesus is passing this way, Is passing this way today."
We understand that because Jesus is no longer in the flesh He will not pass by anyone today physically as He did through Jericho when He healed blind Bartimaeus and went to the house of Zacchaeus. However, He spiritually passes by us through the preaching of His word, so when His people are proclaiming His gospel message of salvation, they are saying to a lost and dying world, "Jesus Is Passing This Way."