HAIL, THOU ONCE DESPISED JESUS!
John Bakewell, 1721–1819
He [God] raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20, 21)
The author of this worshipful and strongly doctrinal hymn text presents a vivid contrast between the shame and suffering of Christ’s earthly life and the greatness of His eternal glorification. We must never forget that the infant Jesus has moved on to take His place as the reigning Lord. Often at Christmas we become very sentimental about His lowly birth, or at Easter saddened as we recall His suffering and death. Sometimes our emphasis upon Christ’s earthly ministry causes us to lose sight of His eternal deity. The Bible reminds us that “because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:24, 25).
John Bakewell was a zealous lay evangelist who was associated with the Wesleyan movement during the mid 1700’s. Something of the character of this man is indicated by the tribute on his tombstone in a grave site located in the same area where John Wesley is buried in London, England:
Sacred to the memory of John Bakewell, who departed this life March 18, 1819, age 98. He adorned the doctrine of God, our Savior, and preached His glorious gospel about 70 years. “The memory of the just is blessed.”
Hail, Thou once despised Jesus! Hail, Thou Galilean King! Thou didst suffer to release us; Thou didst free salvation bring. Hail, Thou agonizing Savior, bearer of our sin and shame! By Thy merits we find favor; life is given through Thy name.
Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory, there forever to abide; all the heavenly hosts adore Thee, seated at Thy Father’s side: There for sinners Thou art pleading; there Thou dost our place prepare, ever for us interceding till in glory we appear.
Worship, honor pow’r and blessing Thou art worthy to receive; loudest praises, without ceasing, meet it is for us to give. Help, ye bright angelic spirits, bring your sweetest, noblest lays; help to sing our Savior’s merits; help to chant Immanuel’s praise!
For Today: Isaiah 53:3–6; Luke 24:26; Ephesians 1:18–22; Revelation 5:6–14
Lift your heart to the One who was slain but now liveth again—our Savior evermore. And because of His unchanging priesthood, He is ever accessible to us through prayer. Worship Him with these musical lines—