“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3
In the last public meeting before his untimely death, Philip Bliss the hymn’s composer conducted a service at the Michigan State Prison for 800 inmates. Many of them wept in true repentance as he spoke of Jesus’ redeeming death and sang the verses of “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”
On 29 December 1876, the Pacific Express train on which Philip Bliss and his wife were traveling in approached Ashtabula, Ohio. While the train was in the process of crossing a trestle bridge, which collapsed, all the carriages fell into the ravine below. Bliss escaped from the wreck, but the carriages caught fire and Bliss returned to try to extricate his wife. No trace of either body was discovered. Ninety-two of the 160 passengers are believed to have died in what became known as the Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster. The Blisses were survived by their two sons, George and Philip Paul, then aged four and one, respectively.
A monument to Bliss was erected in Rome, Pennsylvania. Found in his trunk, which somehow survived the crash and fire, was a manuscript bearing the lyrics of the only well-known Bliss Gospel song for which he did not write a tune. Soon thereafter, set to a tune specially written for it by James McGranahan, it became one of the first songs recorded by Thomas Alva Edison, that song being I Will Sing of My Redeemer.
As we approach this week of the Passion of Christ, let us not forget the payment that was paid on our behalf through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The events in the life of our Savior during this coming week laid the foundation for God’s incredible power to be displayed through His resurrection on the third day. Paul wrote the following verses which describe the power of these events.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. “
1 Corinthians 2:1–5
Has God granted to you faith and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of your sins? Won’t you ask Him today?
Then you can proclaim, Hallelujah, What A Savior!