Hymn Story: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Imagine standing at the foot of Jesus cross with his mother, Mary Magdalene, the other women and the apostle John.

Beneath the Cross of Jesus gives us insight to this time and place.

The song was written by Elizabeth Clephane, who also wrote The Ninety and Nine.

Elizabeth Clephane lost her parents at a young age and struggled with her own health issues for the majority of her life.

Elizabeth Clephane

However she is described as “one of those cheerful people who brighten every corner”. Her friends called her “Sunbeam”.

The passage “The shadow of a mighty rock, Within a weary land,
A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat And the burden of the day.” {Isaiah 32:1-2} is said to be the inspiration for her poem Beneath the Cross of Jesus.

Elizabeth Clephane is said to say she found her resting place in the cross of Jesus, which was her home within the wilderness.

We are unsure of exactly when Elizabeth wrote the hymn, but one source believes it may have been shortly before her death.

The hymn was first published in 1872, three years after the authors death. The poem was submitted by an anonymous source, probably a friend or family member and published in the Scottish Presbyterian magazine The Family Treasury.

Evangelist Dwight D. Moody and his song leader, Ira Sankey, popularized the hymn through their crusades.

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