Thomas Shepherd, 1665-1739

And when [Jesus] had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mark 8:34

The Scriptural qualifications for discipleship are very clear: Self-denial and a resolve to bear a cross of consecration for the sake of the Gospel. Each true follower of Christ will have a cross to bear at various times throughout life. The cross is the badge that identifies us as a worthy representative and servant of our Master. For some, the cross might be a physical weakness; for others it could be an unattained goal, a discouraging situation, or a concern for a loved one. Whatever it may be, the way we bear our individual cross can in itself be a testimony to the lost of the power of the God as well as a source of encouragement to Christians.

The text for this hymn was the work of several different authors through the centuries. Thomas Shepherd, a 17th Century English dissenter preacher, published a volume of poems in 1693 titled Penitential Cries. At least the first stanza with some possible alterations is believed to have come from that volume. One of the original stanzas from this work reads as follows:

"Shall Simon bear the Cross alone,
And other Saints be free?
Each Saint of Thine shall find his own--
And there is one for me."

George Nelson Allen, music teacher at Oberlin College, collected the verses and composed the music for the text in 1844 for inclusion in his collection Oberlin Social and Sabbath School Hymn Book. "Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?" has since challeneged Christians in their commitment to Christ and His service with the realization that an earthly cross always precedes a heavenly crown.

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, thereís a cross for everyone,
And thereís a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above,
Who once went sorrowing here!
But now they taste unmingled love,
And joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross Iíll bear
Till death shall set me free;
And then go Home my crown to wear,
For thereís a crown for me.

Upon the crystal pavement down
At Jesusí piercŤd feet,
Joyful Iíll cast my golden crown
And His dear Name repeat.

O precious cross! O glorious crown!
O resurrection day!
When Christ the Lord from Heavín comes down
And bears my soul away.

*For Today*: Matthew 16:24-27; Philippians 3:10; I Peter 2:21-24

Reflect on the example of our Lord, "Who for the joy set before him endured the cross..." (Hebrews 12:2). Relate this to the cross you may be bearing in your life today.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Return to Hymn Devotionals Index

Caleb's Country Corner *_*

The Christian Counter