October 18

Crucifixion and Resurrection (As Told by Johnny Cash)

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Sometimes, it causes me to tremble.


If you had been observing Johnny Cash’s pattern on his choices of songs, you should not be surprised by now how this one appealed to him. A pioneer and a proponent of various musical themes, he had always been drawn to materials that had depth and mystery.

In his rendition of Were You There (When They Crucify My Lord), he put full effort in etching the imagery of that dramatic event to the consciousness of his listeners. Much to our satisfaction, the legendary Man in Black (and with the help of Carter family), did not stray but emphasized the intensity of Jesus’ crucifixion. Though presented as a performance, they did not dare use the song’s narration as a platform for self-conceit. There were reverence and humility in their delivery.

Indeed, such a sacred scene should not be taken lightly. It is one thing to merely recite the words, and another to feel the haunting sight of a sinless man being nailed to a Cross. To be more direct, how would you feel seeing the Son of God die in your place? For that, the repetition of “tremble” in the chorus is just fitting.

However, this beautiful hymn is not a plain, morbid narration of the crucifixion. In the recent variations, a stanza was added detailing the resurrection of our Lord (and rightly so.) Jesus’ story did not end at his burial. He came back to life and had always been present since.

Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Oh! Sometimes I feel like shouting glory, Glory, glory!
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

The identity of the actual author is still unknown. Most research available online claim that it could be one of the blacks in the 1800s who wrote it. Living in the midst of inhospitable circumstances as slaves in the southern plantations; they could easily identify or be even comforted by comparison of their sufferings with Christ’s. Instead of retaliation and vengeance, their newly-found faith gave them the will to forgive their oppressors as Jesus did on that cross 2000 years ago.


  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like

    Flashback to George Jones’ “The Grand Tour” – One of the Saddest Songs of All Time

    Martina McBride, Elvis Presley’s Surreal “Blue Christmas” Duet

    America’s Got Talent Gets All the Positive feels from 4-Year Old Contestant

    After Luke Bryan, Lionel Ritchie Next American Idol Judges

    Meet Indiana, the Adorable Daughter of Rory and Joey Feek

    Don’t Worry Because “God Holds the Future in His Hands”

    Ace in the Hole Band: The Legendary Group that Always Got George Strait’s Back

    Latest Stories

    Two Music Icons Made “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” A Timeless Classic

    Diamond Rio’s “I Believe” Is A Song For All The People Who Once Touched Our Lives

    The Song “Puff The Magic Dragon” Might Not Be The Way You Think It Is 

    “From a Distance” Is The Song of Hope and Peace We All Need Today

    How “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” Made Jerry Reed One of the Hottest-Selling Acts  

    Ricky Skaggs Mesmerized CMA Viewers With His Version of “There Goes My Everything” 

    Subscribe to our newsletter now!

    Country Thang Daily