Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands

Melody, "Christ lag in Todesbanden", Latin, c. 1100; Seq. by Richard Jordan

Martin Luther, 1524; German text

Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah!

2. None o'er Death could victory win;
O'er all mankind he reigned.
'Twas by reason of our sin;
There was not one unstained.
Thus came Death upon us all,
Bound the captive world in thrall,
Held us 'neath his dread dominion.

3. Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
To our low state descending,
All our sins away hath done
Death's power forever ending.
Ruined all his right and claim
Left him nothing but the name,
For his sting is lost forever.

4. Strange and dreadful was the fray,
When Death and Life contended;
But 'twas Life that won the day,
And Death's dark sway was ended.
Holy Scripture plainly saith,
Death is swallowed up of Death,
Put to scorn and led in triumph.

5. This, the Paschal Lamb, the Christ,
Whom God so freely gave us,
On the cross is sacrificed
In flames of love to save us.
On our door the blood-mark;-Faith
Holds it in the face of Death.
The Destroyer can not harm us.

6. Therefore let us keep the feast
With heartfelt exultation;
God to shine on us is pleased,
The Sun of our salvation.
On our hearts, with heavenly grace,
Beams the brightness of his face,
And the night of sin has vanished.

7. Eat th' unleavened bread to-day,
And drink the paschal chalice;
From God's pure word put away
The leaven of guile and malice.
Christ alone our souls will feed;
He is meat and drink indeed.
Faith no other life desireth.


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