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#923 - "Is He Worthy" by Andrew Peterson
Gifted songwriter Andrew Peterson lends his skills to a congregational song in this standout from 'Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1.'

Posted: May 23, 2018 | By: NRTeamAdmin
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Having consistently enjoyed Andrew Peterson's poignant songs including "Lay Me Down," "All Things New," "Dancing in the Minefields," "Rest Easy" and "Be Kind to Yourself," I was excited to hear Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1. It is the long-anticipated prequel to his critically acclaimed album Resurrection Letters, Vol. II. One of Christian music's most prolific and thought provoking singer-songwriters, Andrew's poignant songwriting is coupled with musical excellence as each song urges me to better see God and celebrate His resurrection and how one day He will make "all things new."

This album is sure to connect with all listeners who like catchy songs filled with truth and yearning for God. Andrew writes about themes that cause me to hang on every word he sings. This album once again exhibits Peterson's gift of relating the challenges of life and the need for a Savior like no one else.  I had the chance to speak with Andrew about "Is He Worthy."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

We were in the studio working on this record about the resurrection. We had this big master plan to break it into sections. We wanted to have at least one congregational song, mixed in with a narrative, mixed in with an artsy song, as a road map to get our heads around how we were going to convey these different sections of the story. 

I had never really thought much about congregational songwriting. It's not that I don't like it, but I tend to think other people are better at it than me. On this album I was in this situation where I needed to try to do something I had never done before. I have been going to a liturgical style church for about 6 years now, and part of it is that I'm such a word nerd, but I love how rich the language is in these old liturgies that are hundreds of years old. I love that the word "liturgy" means "the work of the people." What that implies is that the liturgical service is not just the congregation sitting back and listening to what the pastor has to say, but that we are all involved, and we are all responding to what we believe is true with a call and response and questions and answers that keep my mind and heart engaged. That caused me to think about writing a congregational song like that. 

I wrote the verses with the call and response sections, and then I had no idea how to write the chorus. I thought about how this album is about the resurrection, and I remembered how in Revelation 5 this wonderful scene unfolds where John is looking around and realizing that nobody can be found worthy to break the seal and open the scroll and to ascend to the Throne. He is weeping loudly because there is nobody worthy to do this thing. He is told, "no behold there is someone Who is worthy." I love how there also a question and answer section in the Bible, "Is there anyone worthy?" And the angels answer about the power of Jesus, "He is."

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Revelation 5:11-13 (NIV): "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice, they were saying: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: 'To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, Be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!'"

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NKJV): "So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting?'"

John 14:6 (NIV): Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Hebrews 2:17 (NIV): "For this reason, He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."

Revelation 21:5 (NIV): He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

What is the takeaway message?

A lot of this record was informed by N.T. Wright's book Surprised by Hope. That's what got me started on this "Resurrection Letters" journey ten years ago. I put out an album about thirteen years ago called The Far Country, which was inspired by C.S. Lewis. The opening title track says "this is a far country, not my home" in the chorus. There's a line in my song "Lay Me Down" that says, "I'll open up my eyes on the skies I've never known, in the place where I belong, and I'll realize His love is just another word for Home." 

I received a five-page letter in the mail from someone who lives in Canada who lovingly rebuked me and said they liked my music, but they had a theological issue with my songs. They gently pointed out that this is not a far country, and this is actually God's earth and Eden that was broken. The Bible and the Book of Revelation tells us that God is redeeming and repairing and making new what was broken. He's not wiping the slate clean and starting over. 

It is not that God is making a new world, but God is making the world new. There's a difference in the way we think about it. I grew up with a hazy theology about heaven and the idea that "it's all going to burn down here anyway." It seems like in Revelation, what God is doing is that He delights in redeeming what was broken. For you and me, He didn't destroy us and make us new people. He incorporates who we are into this new creation. He is making us into. When Jesus shows His scars from the Cross, He showed them His wounds as if to say He didn't start over, but it was a continuation of His story. That's a more powerful expression of the character of God than if He were to snap His fingers and make another world. He's making our scars into the greater work of His glory.

God is going to make us all new again. Jesus has a glorified body, and we will have a glorified new body. We will reign with Jesus. We are the children of the King. We will be invited into caring for the new earth He is creating for us. I can feel my heart quicken at the thought of the new earth that matters to the Lord. He is promising to remake it. That's the Gospel. The Cross matters. There's talk about being saved, but not what we are saved for. The Bible points to the idea that He is saving us to reign with Him. It's mind-blowing.

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)

Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this?
He is

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)
Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)
And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
From every people and tribe
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom and priests to God
To reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
He is!
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
He is!
He is! 

Kevin’s Closing Thoughts On The Song

The song is an emotive and poetic description of what Jesus did for us. The enemy is real, and our best defense against his desire to destroy us is to cry out the victorious words of songs like "Is He Worthy" and know that our Redeemer has saved us from death, forever. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that helps us remember that Jesus came to die, defeated death and rose again to set us free.

There is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave. This song is a foretaste of that beautiful ending that we are all running towards as we finish the race set before us. Worship is about giving God our best, offering all of ourselves to Him. That is a sweet aroma of praise. Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives us a new life, and we are new creations. And we also like replica watches which were sold online.

Once you adopt the words of this song into your heart, you will remember the Truth that Jesus has always been, He is today, and He always will be the One who makes a way for us, even when it seems impossible. That's something to remember and rest upon. In any situation, God will make a way for His children. As we look at the fallen world around us, we all need to lift our eyes up to God and put all of our faith and hope in Him. For the saved In Christ, one day "God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying."

"All things are possible" when you put your hope and trust in the supernatural power of God. 700 years before Jesus made the way to Heaven by coming to earth, it was prophesied in Isaiah. Christ fulfilled it on the Cross, and He promises in His Word that one day He will make "all things new." A.W. Tozer said "We should not find it miraculous that God is victorious. What else would He be? But we should find it miraculous that we can be victorious through Him." This song encourages me and is one of the most inspirational songs I've ever heard. What an exciting thought that all suffering and hurt will be left behind, and one day glory will be revealed in us through Christ. For the believer, for eternity we will be singing "Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory, is He worthy? Is He worthy of this? He is!" Amen to that!

Watch the music video:


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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