"How long the Pastor's prayer is this morning," thought Elvina Hall. Sitting in the choir loft, Elvina's mind turned to our need for salvation and the price Jesus paid for it. Words began to form themselves. She had to get them down. But she had no paper. Well, that wasn't ..... quite true. Scribbling on the flyleaf of her hymnbook, she wrote:
I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."
Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Not bad. Not bad at all. After service, she handed the words to her pastor. Did his face crease into a little smile at this evidence of her "naughty" behavior? We may never know.
But we do know that an extraordinary "coincidence" took place that day at the Monument Srtreet Methodist Church of Baltimore. Organist John Grape had recently written a new tune and given it to the pastor. The pastor saw that the tune and the poem fit together extremely well. So he united them. In that way one of the most beloved hymns of the church came into being - Jesus Paid It All. The song appeared in the hymnal for the first time in 1868.
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
Jesus was sent as our Savior to pay this debt. God offers this gift for each of us and all we must do is accept His grace and forgiveness. In doing this we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, has taken on our debt and paid it all for us. This realization inspired one of the longest-standing hymns of all time.