Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Stanzas 1-3 based on Latin, 14th-Century text
Stanza 4 by Charles Wesley, 1740
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!
But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!
Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!
Notes on the Hymn
The first three stanzas of our hymn are from an anonymous, 14th-century Latin, Easter carol – “Surrexit Christus Hodie.” “Risen, is Christ today” is a literal translation of the original Latin. John Walsh first published this hymn along with translations of other Latin and German hymns in a 1708 collection.
41 years later, John Arnold published this hymn in “The Compleat Psalmodist,” 2nd edition, 1749. This publication included a slightly modified translation of the first stanza, together with completely new second and third stanzas. We sing these stanzas today. Many modern hymnals also include a fourth stanza written by Charles Wesley as a doxology to this great resurrection hymn. This stanza first appeared in “Wesleyan Hymns and Sacred Poems, published in 1740.
Wesley's "Christ the Lord is Risen Today"
Charles Wesley also wrote an original hymn of 11 stanzas entitled “Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Editors often pair Wesley’s hymn with the tune “Easter Hymn.” It first appeared in the 1739 London publication, “Hymns and Sacred Poems.” "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" is often confused with Wesley’s hymn. Both hymns are in the same meter. And we sing both to the same tune, with added “Alleluias” at the end of each line of verse. Wesley used the three original stanzas of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” as stanzas eight, through ten of his hymn. Wesley's previously-mentioned fourth stanza doxology also adds to the confusion.