Holy Week Hymns and their Story

“Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”

April 04, 2023

Irish Evangelical Thomas Kelly (1769-1855) first published this hymn in his “Hymns on Various Passages of Scripture” in 1804. In these verses, we are given a glimpse of the earnestness in preaching for which Kelly was well known. The language of justice and guilt in this hymn, reflects, somewhat, his life as the son of a judge. [Kelly also studied Law before finally entering the Seminary].
Verse 1 begins with the language of a suffering servant in Isaiah 53, but very quickly incorporates many other Scriptural themes and images. The One who is dying bears the curse of sin in the garden, and will die on a tree.
Verse 2 emphasizes Jesus’ utter forsakenness by both God and man. His disciples abandoned Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter denied Him outright in the courtyard.
Verse 3 is a reminder that the cross first shows us the Law and the gravity of sin. Those who want to minimize their sin or pass it off as a minor flaw in the human condition are here given to see how serious it really is. Atoning for sin caused the death of God’s Son!
Verse 4 concludes the hymn by using multiple descriptions of the certainty of faith in Christ. He is the solid rock of our salvation that cannot be moved or overcome by sin or death or the devil. In Him, “we have a firm foundation”.

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, see Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ, by man rejected; yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
‘Tis the long-expected Prophet, David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it: ‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

LSB 451

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