LENT - WEEK OF MARCH 6, 2022






'TIS MYSTERY ALL!


Each of the articles in this resource reflects on a piece of music to explore the meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection.


“And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” - hymn by Charles Wesley


AND CAN IT BE THAT I SHOULD GAIN?


And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died he for me, who caused his pain?

For me, who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me!


’Tis mystery all! Th’ Immortal dies!

Who can explore his strange design?

In vain the firstborn seraph tries

To sound the depths of love divine!

’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,

Let angel minds inquire no more.

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me!


He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite his grace;

Emptied himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race;

’Tis mercy all, immense and free;

For, O my God, it found out me.

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me!


Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free;

I rose, went forth and followed thee.

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me!


No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in him is mine!

Alive in him, my living head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ

my own.

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, should die for me!


Originally called “Free Grace” | Charles Wesley



’TIS MYSTERY ALL! Study Questions


• J. Todd Billings points out that the refrain of “And Can It Be”

is often “so familiar that we may struggle to see how utterly

shocking it is.” How would you summarize what’s so shocking

about it in your own words?


• Read Colossians 1:15–23 and Hebrews 1:1–3; 2:9–10, 14–17.

How do you see the mystery Charles Wesley points to

expressed in these passages? Specifically, what do they

say about Christ’s deity and power? About his humanity

and death?


15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.


21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

(Colossians 1:15–23 ESV)


1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

(Hebrews 1:1–3 ESV)


9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

(Hebrews 2:9–10 ESV)


14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

(Hebrews 2:14–17 ESV)


• How do these passages enrich your personal contemplation

of the Cross?


• Read Mark 10:35–45. While James and John were focused

on attaining glory, Billings writes, Jesus “countered by telling

them how his whole life, as the true Messiah and King, is

shaped by a cross-formed love.” What do you imagine Jesus'

followers thought when they first heard this? What’s your

response as you ponder this statement today?


35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

(Mark 10:35–45 ESV)


• Beyond the theological mystery Wesley’s song explores,

there’s also a strong note of personal wonder: “Amazing

love!” that God would die “for me!” What is amazing about

God’s love for you?


• What’s one phrase or line from the song that stands out to you

most as you consider your response to the amazing, mysterious

love of God? Why?



This study is from "The Wondrous Cross: Reflections on Christ’s Sacrifice Drawn from the Songs and Hymns of Easter"

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