Lenten Hymns and their Story

March 16, 2023

“Lamb of God, Pure and Holy”

Nicolaus Decius (1485-1546), a monk that later became a Lutheran pastor, wrote three hymns in "low" German [not common at all].  They were all versions of the “Sanctus” and the “Agnus Dei”.  Drawn to the Reformation teachings, Decius went to Wittenberg to study Theology in 1523, and in 1527 he became a pastor in Stettin [Pomerania - present day N.E. Germany, N.W. Poland].  He later served various congregations in East Prussia [E. Poland / W. Russia].
This hymn was used extensively by Johan Sebastian Bach on Good Friday after the Sermon was delivered, and as the beginning movement of his great “St. Matthew’s Passion”, where people are called to mourn our Savior’s death.  
This hymn recalls how Jesus accepted the wrath and punishment and wrath that we sinners deserved.  God required a perfect sacrifice and, in mercy, He provided it.  God the Father sent and offered up His Son as His perfect sacrificial lamb.  This was the plan of which we learn from the prophet Isaiah in 53:1-9.
And so, we pray to Jesus, “have mercy”.  

Lamb of God, pure and holy, who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us, else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy on us, 0 Jesus! O, Jesus!

LSB 434

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