What you have here below is a literary analysis of the song "How Deep the Father's Love". . .well, an attempt at a literary analysis. :)
This song was written in 1995 by a man by the name Stuart Townsend. Because of the theological depth and lyrical beauty"How Deep the Father's Love" displays, his name is now being tossed around in conversation along with the names of renowned hymn-writers Isaac Watts and Fanny J. Crosby. This paper is the result of an assignment for my dual credit English class. I am not entirely happy with it. . .if I had my way, there would have been a LOT more preaching about the amazing love of Jesus! Anyways, here it is in rough draft form! A.k.a., few grammatical errors as well as no citation.
Greater Love Has No Man Than This
“How deep the Father’s love for us /How vast beyond all measure /That He should give his only Son/To make a wretch His treasure ”. These are the opening lyrics to a song that is widely known for its theological depth and beauty. It has even been called a modern hymn - modern only because the author Stuart Townsend is still alive. His style of writing has been compared to that of spiritual giant Isaac Watts and Fanny J. Crosby. In this song, the power of redemption, the beauty of grace, and the immeasurable love of a Savior are conveyed through words that convict and amaze.
The first four lines of this song express amazement at the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to bring life to the dead. The act of Jesus coming as the Savior was not to literally give life to those who had passed away, but to bring eternal life and salvation to those dead in their sin. As the song expresses, He came and conquered death once and for all “to make a wretch His treasure.” The term “wretch” is used to describe all of mankind. In the book of Romans, chapter 3, Paul explains, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ came as a sacrifice of atonement for those sins, justifying sinners by grace through redemption (Romans 3:24).
As Jesus came and carried our sin on His back, weighing down just as heavily as the cross he bore on His back, God could not look at Him as described in line six where it reads “The Father turns His face away”. The fact that God could not even look at His Son as He bore the sins of man shows once again how amazing this act of love was.
Next, the song again talks about the redemption we gain from the pain that Christ suffered. The next line mentions the power of Christ displayed as “…wounds which mar the chosen One bring many sons to glory”. This righteousness gained through redemption is, of course, mentioned in many places throughout Scripture. From Old Testament Major Prophets such as Jeremiah to the Epistles of the New Testament, the death of Jesus is prophesied then revered, the awe and wonder at it all never ceasing.
Moving on in the story of the crucifixion, Townsend now describes the horrific image of the King of Kings hanging by his hands and feet on a cross. Within this verse, he mentions again the reason that the Christ endured the cross – the sin of mankind. He acknowledges the betrayal of many as he names himself as a mocker of Jesus. This acknowledgment shows the true nature of humanity – to scorn the very One responsible for salvation.
The next verse of the song is triumphant! As Townsend so beautifully wrote, “His dying breath has brought me life”, the dying breath of the Savior provided life to the fullest for all. Death has been overcome with victory! What used to be the end is now the beginning of a life more vibrant than anyone has ever known.
Townsend then goes on to say that the power of the resurrection is the only boast he will ever claim; a mindset that reflects that of many the spiritual giants from the Bible. Incredible followers of Christ such as Paul and David led lives that exemplified this mindset to the extreme. Their journeys, as well as those of others who lived by this standard can be found throughout the Old and New Testament. The lives of men and women who boast the name of Jesus Christ above anything else are used as examples of a person walking with the Lord, people living for the kingdom. These people, above all personal accomplishments and above all circumstances, give the glory to the name of Jesus. Even when it comes the things such as wisdom or talent that the Lord Himself blesses them with, they claim no power. “To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ!” as Paul declared (Romans 16:27). The next set of lyrics in this song pose a question that says it all about the nature of mankind. “Why should I gain from His reward?”. Why should humanity be given such a beautiful gift of grace and mercy? By what act of a man can this gift be justified? As Townsend goes on to say, “I cannot give an answer/But this I know with all my heart/His wounds have paid my ransom”. Who can say why this mercy and grace was so freely given to man? Without paying the cost required for sinning, eternal life and forgiveness is given while man has nothing of value in terms of this mercy to give back. But it doesn’t matter because that is the nature of the love of Christ. Without a shadow of a doubt, the pain He endured on the cross have brought life to man. “His wounds have paid my ransom”.
The power in the name of Jesus and the wonder behind the story of the Crucifixion is a combination heard widely throughout churches and conversation of believers. In “How Deep the Father’s Love”, this combination can be found again, but with lyrical beauty that captivates the soul. It evokes sympathy for the innocent Savior, awe at the love behind His sacrifice, and shame at the sinful nature of humanity. This love has not been and never will be surpassed. As John 3:16 reminds, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is undeniably the greatest love that anyone could ever know.
Tell me what you think!