Picking traditional hymns and modern worship songs to celebrate Easter this year? Here are 27 of the best hymns for Easter that celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection!
What hymns are best to sing in church on easter Sunday?
It depends what you mean when you are looking for hymns! There are a variety of traditional hymns that focus on Christ’s death and resurrection.
These can be played traditionally with an organ, or in a more contemporary style with a band.
But the broader definition of a hymn is “a song of praise to God” (Merriam Webster). So when some people search for hymns, they don’t mind if they are traditional or more modern praise songs.
Personally, my church does a mix of both, which I think is neat. For that reason, I will show you a variety of songs in different styles.
We’ll start out with classic hymns, then look at some lesser known traditional hymns, and finally look at modern worship Easter songs!
So without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Classic Easter Hymns
Let’s start out with popular hymns that have been classic on Easter for a long time!
1. The Old Rugged Cross
The Old Rugged Cross must be one of the most well known and loved hymns there is! Written by George Bennard in 1912, this song focuses on the cross as a symbol of Jesus’ love and suffering for us.
2. Amazing Grace
Speaking of well known and loved, Amazing Grace is another very popular hymn. Since it describes our salvation from Christ in a heart-piercing way, it makes a great Easter hymn.
3. Christ the lord is risen today
Christ the Lord is Risen Today is a hymn known for the fun vocal parts every time “Allelujah” is sung. It has 4 verses, with each one focusing on a different aspect of the resurrection. My personal favorite is verse 3, which begins with “Love’s redeeming work is done” and goes on to talk about how Jesus won the fight and destroyed death.
This hymn is particularly epic when sung by a choir! I enjoyed listening to this version:
4. Nothing but the blood
If you want to focus specifically on the blood of Jesus, Nothing But the Blood is a great choice. This hymn would work great for Good Friday in particular. It was composed by Robert Lowry and based on Hebrews chapter 9.
5. Because He Lives
The Easter hymn “Because He Lives” is a great one that reminds me of 1 Corinthians 15. The main phrase in the refrain is “because He lives, I can face tomorrow…life is worth the living just because he lives.” This is a great reminder that we have no hope without Jesus. Only with him can we find purpose in life.
6. Jesus Paid it all
One of my favorite hymns is Jesus Paid it All! This hymn speaks of our weakness and Christ’s strength and sacrifice. Amazingly, this hymn has been sung by Christians around the world for over 150 years. Elvina Hall wrote it in 1865.
One great contemporary version of Jesus Paid it All is this one by Kristian Stanfill. It includes an extra bridge. See below:
7. There is Power in the blood
There is Power in the Blood is another old hymn, written in 1899 by Lewis Edgar Jones. Jones went to Moody Bible Institute and wrote over 200 songs in the course of his life. This hymn in particular, with the theme of our cleansing from Jesus’ blood, has definitely remained popular through the years!
8. Easter Song
Easter Song is a hymn that clearly uses the resurrection story in the lyrics. It speaks of the angel at the tomb, the disciples spreading the word, and then moves to a joyful chorus about the resurrection. I love that it also makes the connection of being born again to the resurrection.
I first heard this song from Keith Green’s recording:
9. Crown him with many crowns
While Crown Him With Many Crowns is not in the “Easter” section of the hymnal, the lyrics actually make it a great resurrection Sunday song! The focus of the words is on Jesus’ ascension and kingship, which is exactly what the resurrection helped usher in. I love the second part of the first verse: “Awake my soul and sing of Him who died for me, and hail him as thy matchless King thru all eternity.”
10. He Lives
He Lives is an upbeat resurrection hymn. It includes 3 verses and a refrain that traditionally alternates between the women and men. Written by Alfred H. Ackley, He Lives focuses on the fact that Jesus rose and now He lives within our hearts.
Lesser Known Traditional Hymns
If you look in the hymnal, you will find more resurrection/Easter themed hymns. These aren’t as well known as some of the previous. But many of them still have great lyrics and music!
11. Thine is the glory
Interestingly, Thine is the Glory was written by Edmund L. Budry using a melody from the composer Handel. This hymn is sometimes sung at Easter, weddings, or funerals. Its theme is Jesus’ glory and victory from conquering the grave.
Below you can hear it being sung traditionally:
12. He Rose Triumphantly
Written by Oswald Smith, He Rose Triumphantly also has a bright and victorious sounding melody. It has 3 verses and a refrain talking about the resurrection. Listen to a choir singing this hymn accapella here.
13. Jesus Lives, and So shall I
This one is a bit longer! Jesus Lives, and So Shall I has 5 verses filled with rich Easter lyrics. It was written by Christian Gellert and later translated by Philip Schaff.
Listen to this hymn with choir and organ here.
14. Worship Christ the risen King
While Worship Christ the Risen King is a well known hymn, it DOES share a melody with a well known Christmas song: Angels from the Realms of Glory. Listen to a cool version of this song by Word Music here.
15. Rejoice the lord is king
Rejoice the Lord is King does not have as huge of a focus on the resurrection, but it is still a great hymn to celebrate Christ’s kingship. The lyrics are based on Philippians 4:8 and written by Charles Wesley! Here is a more contemporary version of this hymn with a band.
16. Christ Arose
The last song for this category: Christ Arose, by Robert Lowry! Once again, this is a very triumphant sounding hymn with great lyrics. A contemporary version can be listened to here.
Worship Songs for Easter Sunday
Now lastly, let’s look at some modern praise and worship Easter songs!
17. In Christ Alone
In Christ Alone, written by Keith and Kristyn Getty, is a powerful modern hymn. The lyrics walk through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, making it the perfect Easter song! I particularly love the last verse that talks about our response to all of this.
Another great worship song for Easter is Forever, performed by Kari Jobe. This song does a great job of describing the anticipation leading up to the resurrection. Listen to this song here.
19. How deep the father’s love for us
A more reflective Easter song is How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. It was released in 1990 and written by Stuart Townend. The tone and feel of this song is incredible, perfect for reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice.
20. Glorious Day
Looking for a more upbeat modern resurrection song? It doesn’t get much better than Glorious Day! This classic has lyrics that never fail to pierce my heart (and sometimes bring me to tears!) Just take a look at the chorus:
Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
21. This is amazing grace
This is Amazing Grace is a great upbeat worship song! Written by Phil Wickam, it makes a good celebration Easter hymn.
22. All Hail King Jesus
A newer song, written in 2017, is All Hail King Jesus. I know I keep saying these songs are powerful…but this one is too! I love the lyrics of the chorus, “All hail King Jesus, all hail the savior of the world!”
23. Resurrection Power
A more unique Easter song is Resurrection Power by Chris Tomlin. The focus of this song is how we as believers have Christ’s resurrection power inside of us as the New Creation. It is a celebration of that freedom that He gives us!
24. power of the cross
Talk about a moving song—Power of the Cross is another one that always brings me to tears. It was published in 2005 and written by Kristyn Getty. The song starts out describing the crucifixion, but ends with the resurrection.
25. Living Hope
Written by Phil Wickam, Living Hope starts out reflective but grows into a powerful song.
26. What He’s Done
What He’s Done is a newer song that is so awesome! I sang it in 2022 with an ensemble, and it is a wonderful celebration song of what Jesus has done for us.
27 & 28
A few last options are See a Victory & Man of Sorrows.
There are so many great Easter hymns that you can sing this year on Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday. I hope you found the perfect song for your family or church in this post. He is Risen!