Jesus Stood Alone – Words of Grace – October 21, 2022

Jesus Stood Alone – Words of Grace – October 21, 2022

The vision of Jesus in the Gospel of John just before the cross is him standing alone. In his loneliness we see the only-ness of Jesus.

The scene is Jesus standing before the high priest, and then before Pilate the Roman governor (John 18-19). By each he is accused and condemned. A closer look shows that Jesus is standing alone. Peter, who was with Jesus at his arrest, has now denied his discipleship.

As I meditated on this scene this week, a line from an old hymn lodged in my mind. I can’t shake it. It’s haunting at first, then liberating and love-producing. The hymn is, “Hallelujah! What A Savior!” The line is, “In my place condemned he stood.”

Jesus stood before the human authorities, both religious and civil. The one who had the power to put to death “sat down on the judgment seat,” pronounced the sentence, and delivered him to be crucified (John 19:13).

Jesus was condemned. That’s interesting because Pilate said three times that he found no guilt in Jesus. But he sentenced him to death. This was a legal and human injustice.

Jesus stood condemned in my place, and in yours, too. This is the only way the scene and the line in the song make sense. Here is Jesus, our Savior, standing alone before men, but accomplishing the will of God on a spiritual and eternal level. Here, condemned before the judgment seat of man, Jesus is standing in our place before God.

The gospel of God is a substitutionary act whereby one stands in the place of many. The one is perfect and innocent. He is the divine-human one. As the Son of God, he is qualified to stand before God because he has no sin to prevent him from doing so. As the man from Nazareth, he can take on sin and its guilt, and bear its penalty in his flesh in an actual death on the cross. Jesus is the only one who can stand condemned in our place.

The priest and governor had no idea what was happening before them in those early morning hours. They thought they were dealing with a problem. But God knew because this was his eternal plan to redeem sinners who would become his people.

The haunting line that acknowledges our sin and condemnation leads us to faith in Christ who stood condemned in our place, and produces love for him which sings, “Hallelujah! What A Savior!”

Believe and love Christ this weekend. Join us for worship on Sunday.


“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Hallelujah! What A Savior! Philip Bliss, published 1875, public domain.