This hymn looks with wonder on the love expressed through Jesus’ life—how he came down from heaven to live among us (v. 1)—how he bore temptations for us and was baptized for our sake (v. 2)—how he prayed for us and worked for us (v. 3) —how he died for us (v. 4)––and rose from death to return to his heavenly home (v. 5). It calls us to give glory to “our Lord and God for love so deep, so high, so broad.”
The author of this hymn, Thomas a Kempis, was a Catholic monk who is well-known for his devotional book, The Imitation of Christ, in which he calls us to live like Jesus lived. This hymn is very much in keeping with that book as it reminds us of the sacrificial life that Christ lived in our behalf.
We need to hear what Thomas has to say. We have heard so much about Jesus being born in a manger that we have largely lost our sense of wonder that God would come down from heaven to live among us—and to die for us. It is a true story of a prince becoming a pauper to serve his people. We need to be reminded that God loves us and has gone to great lengths to save us. We need to recover our sense of wonder that God would love us even when we don’t deserve it.
— Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan