Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted is a hymn penned in 1804 by Anglican priest Thomas Kelly, the author of over 750 hymns in his lifetime. Its title is taken directly from Isaiah 53:4, but throughout it draws from much of the prophet's continuing depiction of the suffering servant. The haunting melody fits well with the theme - the aweful and awesome reality that God sent His own Son to be the sacrifice for man's sin. Though He was the coming King in the line of David, He was rejected by His own people. He was abandonded by His closest companions. As the hymn progresses, it reminds its singers that we alike must come to terms with this Man on the cross. Will we likewise reject Him, or will we recognize the aweful weight He bears? Will we see that He suffers not only the agony and shame of a public scourging and a torturous death but that He recieves a worse affliction?
The deepest stroke that pierced Him was the stroke that Justice gave.
Although the gospel ends in victory, it begins in tragedy. In the cross, God is witnessed in all His glory - His holiness, His righteousness, His love and His justice collide in the death of His beloved Son. As we sing together and worship Him who conquered death for us, let's be sure to rightly estimate Him who entered death fully for us, first.
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
'Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, 'tis He! 'tis He!
'Tis the long-expected Prophet,
David's Son, yet David's Lord;
By His Son God now has spoken:
'Tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.
Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
'Tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.