Hymn Summary: Easter

Christ Jesus lay in Death’s Strong Bands — LSB 458

Easter (Main Service) (1 and 3 year)

Luther writes the text and his Kantor Johann Walter the tune to one of the strongest sung confessions of piercing Law and heavenly Gospel ever written. “Death is now dead,” is the theme. The hymn invites the singer to share with Jesus in full-throated rejoicing that our last enemy of ours has been embarrassed and laid waste. A strange and dreadful fight to the death develops through seven verses, with Jesus tearing us free from death’s chains by being captive Himself. He turns the tables and the tide of fallen human history destroying sin and taking death’s crown. You may be confident because, “Holy Scripture plainly saith that death is swallowed up by death . . .”

The first four verses depict Jesus’ entrance, fight, and securing of man’s salvation. The final three locate where we lay claim of this resurrection and how to partake of its benefits. We sing with Luther to eat and drink the Supper is to join Jesus in His reign, transporting us from death’s darkness into the light, made strong and well fed for whatever trouble comes our way. Together in song and meal we brag what Christ has done, “And Satan cannot harm us. Alleluia!”

Rev. Adrian N. Sherrill serves Trinity Lutheran Church, Denver, Colorado.