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“Jesus, I Will Ponder Now”

Sigismund von Birken (1626-1681) was the son of an evangelical pastor who had to flee Bohemia for Nürnberg. Von Birken studied both law and theology, but left his studies incomplete, joining an order of poets and dabbling in tutoring; he would later become head of this poets’ society (the “Pegnitz Shepherd and Flower Order”), and while in leadership emphasized religious poetry. He received numerous honors for his art.

One of the fifty-two hymns he wrote was Jesu, deine Passion, translated in English hymnals as “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now.” Sung to the tune Jesus Kreuz, Leiden und Pein (by Melchior Vulpius in 1609) this is a very good hymn meditating on Jesus Christ’s redemptive work.

Jesus, I will ponder now
On your holy Passion;
With your Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of your suffering, pain, and death
That I may not perish.

Make me see your great distress,
Anguish, and affliction,
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And your crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound you,
How you died for those, O god,
Who with thorns had crowned you.

Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see your Passion;
But its cause to me make known
And its termination.
For I also and my sin
Brought your deep affliction;
This the shameful cause has been
Of your crucifixion.

If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let your cross my fear disarm,
Peace and pardon give me.
Grant that I may trust in you
And your holy Passion;
If his Son forgives anew,
God must have compassion.

Jesus, Lord, my heart renew,
Let me bear my crosses,
Learning humbleness from you,
Peace despite my losses.
May I give you love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heaven above
Sing your praise forever.

Here is a simple singing of the hymn by a small congregation:

READ
Isaac Watts was kind enough to write me a letter (with a postscript)

And here is a nice, simply sung version of the hymn in German:

Finally, here is a version of the hymn as Bach arranged it:

Ryan Martin

About Ryan Martin

Ryan Martin is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Granite Falls, Minnesota. Prior to that, he served as the associate pastor of Bethany Bible Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He is on the board of directors of Religious Affections Ministries. Ryan received his undergraduate degree at Northland Baptist Bible College, and has received further training from Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis, Minn. (M.Div., 2004; Ph.D., 2013). He was ordained in 2009 at Bible Baptist Church of Elk River, Minn. (now Otsego, Minn.). He has a wife and children too. Ryan is the associate editor of Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). He also contributed to the Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia (Eerdmans, 2017).

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