HE LIVES written in 1874
By training, Alfred Ackley (1887-1960) was a cellist who had studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England. But he was also a minster of the gospel, serving Presbyterian churches in Pennsylvania and California.
This song was written after a question was posed to Alfred by a young Jewish student: “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”
Alfred quickly answered, “He lives! I tell you He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.”
Alfred talked to the young man further, and then went home to re-read the Resurrection accounts in the Gospels. As he read, those words, “He is risen!” struck him with new meaning. Then, from the combination of the Scriptural evidence, his own heart, and the experience of an innumerable cloud of witnesses, he sat down at the piano and wrote this song.
This hymn has been rejected by some congregations because they feel it places too much emphasis on experiential knowledge of Christ, rather than Scriptural truth.
You may know this hymn by its first line – “I serve a risen Savior”, but the title is “He Lives”.
Read this hymn, and – today – rejoice again in a living Lord!
I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
and just the time I need Him He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.
In all the world around me I see His loving care,
and tho my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading thro’ all the stormy blast,
the day of His appearing will come at last. (Chorus)
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
none other is so loving, so good and kind. (Chorus)