After posting the previous hymn ‘Who is He in yonder stall?’ the following hymn (one of my favourites) has been buzzing around in my head. Looking through the hymnbook (Christian Hymns) the incarnation or ‘Christmas’ hymns form quite a small section. But the fact is, there are a great many hymns (and Bible texts) that don’t seem to get a mention as it were in the ‘Christmas Canon’. What could be more Incarnational than ‘Mighty, he man’s nature takes‘! I’m reminded therefore of the following text – one of the most amazing and extraordinary texts in the whole Bible – Hebrews 10:10 speaking of the will of God in sending a redeemer – Jesus Christ. Here’s the passage in context:
Heb 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Heb 10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
Heb 10:6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”
Heb 10:8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),
Heb 10:9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
Heb 10:10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Heb 10:13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
Heb 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Heb 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
Heb 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
Heb 10:17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Heb 10:18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Note: It is not just difficult, but is impossible to find acceptance with God by any other means than the one God Himself has provided – it’s actually blasphemous to even suggest it! Jesus comes to do the will of God, and what is that will? That HE become man and offer His own infinitely valuable sacrifice – Himself. Because any other sacrifice is unacceptable. The blood of bulls and goats pointed forward to the coming of Jesus – the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. We need a mighty person to achieve this. We need a sinless person. We need a willing person. We need a Great Person. We need a resurrected person. And so to the hymn:
Mighty Christ from time eternal,
Mighty, he man’s nature takes,
Mighty, when on Calv’ry dying,
Mighty, death itself He breaks.
See His might,
King of Heaven and earth by right!
Mighty was He in heaven’s purpose,
Mighty, in the pledge to save,
Mighty, from His birth to Calv’ry,
Mighty, bursting from the grave.
Still will He
Mighty be When things hidden now we see.
Great my Jesus in His Person.
Great as God and man is He,
Great His comeliness and beauty,
White and ruddy, fair to see,
Great that sight,
Throned secure on heaven’s height!
vv. 1 & 3 Titus Lewis, 1773 – 1811;
v. 2, Anonymous;
tr. Graham Stuart Harrison 1935 – 2013 (No. 117 Christian Hymns, E.M.W)
If it’s possible to post a link to how it should be sung I’ll put a link here. It’s a magnificent hymn.