The Story Behind The Hymn: And Can It Be
Not many hymns begin with a question as does this one.
However, it is not an expression of doubt but of wonder and awe.
- How can it be that the shedding of Jesus’ blood 1900 years ago is relevant to me today?
- How was it possible for the Son of God to have died for me?
- Why should our Lord empty Himself of all His divine glory and become a man, in order to save “Adam’s helpless race?”
There is considerable evidence that this hymn was written by Charles Wesley soon after his own conversion. Charles Wesley’s crisis experience occurred on May 20, 1738. He had been sick in body as well as in spirit. It seemed that God spoke to him through a vision. According to his Journal, this confrontation took place after reading the bible for some time.
Following is his account:
“At midnight I gave myself up to Christ: assured I was safe, sleeping or waking. I had continued experience of his power to overcome all temptation; and confessed, with joy and surprise, that he was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me, above what I can ask or think.”