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  • Writer's pictureShawn Thornton

Man of Sorrows

Sunday - May 30th

Scripture to Read Today: Isaiah 53:1-12


He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:2-3

Philip P. Bliss wrote both the text and tune to the haunting hymn, "Man of Sorrows." The hymn's lyrics are based on Isaiah 52-53. In these chapters, the prophet Isaiah depicts the agony and rejection of the suffering servant to be sent by God. "Man of Sorrows" was first published in the International Lessons Monthly of 1875 with the title "Redemption." The hymn is also sometimes referred to as "Hallelujah! What a Savior" and "Gethsemane."

Philip Bliss, who also wrote "O How I Love Jesus" and the music for Horatio Spafford's poem "It Is Well With My Soul," wrote "Man of Sorrows" near the end of his life.

Ira Sankey, music leader and singer who traveled with 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody, wrote in his memoirs about Bliss' "Man of Sorrows."

"Written shortly before his death, this was the last hymn I heard Mr. Bliss sing. It was at a meet­ing in Farwell Hall in Chicago, conducted by Henry Moorehouse. A few weeks before his death, Mr. Bliss visited the State Prison at Jackson, Michigan. After a very touching address on "The Man of Sorrows," he sang this hymn with great effect. Many of the prisoners dated their conversion from that day."

Sankey continued writing about this final hymn he heard Bliss sing.

"When Mr. Moody and I were in Paris, holding meetings in the old church which Napoleon had granted to the Evangelicals, I frequently sang this hymn as a solo, asking the congregation to join in the single phrase, 'Hallelujah, what a Saviour,' which they did with splendid effect. It is said that the word 'Hallelujah' is the same in all languages. It seems as though God had prepared it for the great jubilee of heaven, when all his children shall have been ga­thered home to sing 'Hallelujah to the Lamb!'"

Bliss' tragic death at the age of thirty-eight happened near the end of 1876. Philip P. Bliss and his wife were traveling to Chicago to sing for the evangelistic services led by Daniel W. Whittle at Dwight L. Moody's Tabernacle. But a train wreck and fire en route claimed their lives. I am sure they joyfully sang, "Hallelujah, what a Savior!" in the presence of Jesus Himself.

Read the lyrics below or watch one of the YouTube videos of the great hymn - including the lyrics. Allow the tone of the song and the words that echo Isaiah 53 to cause your heart to remember the suffering of Jesus for you and me!

Jesus became the "Man of Sorrows" so we could be forgiven and have our own sorrow of guilt and shame removed!

Man of Sorrows - Philip Bliss 1875

Man of sorrows what a name

for the Son of God, who came

ruined sinners to reclaim:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

in my place condemned he stood,

sealed my pardon with his blood:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;

blameless Lamb of God was he,

sacrificed to set us free:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;

"It is finished" was his cry;

now in heaven exalted high:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,

all his ransomed home to bring,

then anew this song we'll sing:

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

CLICK HERE for a classic hymn (with lyrics) version of the song.

CLICK HERE for a modern version (with lyrics) of the old hymn.


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