Alfred H. Ackley, 1887–1960
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. (Matthew 28:6)
“Why should I worship a dead Jew?”
This challenging question was posed by a sincere young Jewish student who had been attending evangelistic meetings conducted by the author and composer of this hymn, Alfred H. Ackley. In his book, Forty Gospel Hymn Stories, George W. Sanville records Mr. Ackley’s answer to this searching question, which ultimately prompted the writing of this popular gospel hymn:
He lives! I tell you, He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.
Mr. Sanville continues:
Mr. Ackley’s forthright, emphatic answer, together with his subsequent triumphant effort to win the man for Christ, flowered forth into song and crystallized into a convincing sermon on “He Lives!” In his re-reading of the resurrections of the Gospels, the words “He is risen” struck him with new meaning. From the thrill within his own soul came the convincing song—“He Lives!” The scriptural evidence, his own heart, and the testimony of history matched the glorious experience of an innumerable cloud of witnesses that “He Lives,” so he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song. He says, “The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily.”
The hymn first appeared in Triumphant Service Songs, a hymnal published by the Rodeheaver Company in 1933. It has been a favorite with evangelical congregations since that time.
I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him He’s always near.
In all the world around me I see His loving care, and tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading thru all the stormy blast; the day of His appearing will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find, none other is so loving, so good and kind.
Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart ! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.
For Today: Job 19:25; Romans 6:9, 10; Philippians 3:10, 11; Revelation 1:18
Determine to greet everyone in such a way that they will know unmistakably that Jesus is alive and living in your life. Sing as you go—