10 Top Inspirational Easter Songs of All Time

By Andy Argyrakis

Though there’s still plenty to enjoy about the Easter bunny and those baskets overflowing with chocolate characters or multi-colored jellybeans, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the symbols of spring rather than the real reason for celebration. Like Christmas, Easter’s true meaning does indeed get overlooked from the store aisles to some school systems and the work place, but when it’s all said and done, there’s no denying the day signifies the triumph of the risen Christ. With that victorious spirit in mind, here’s a look at “10 Top Inspirational Easter Songs” from the not too distant past through present day, as performed by several groundbreaking Christian artists (listed alphabetically) who’ve managed to perfectly summarize the holiday’s essence in a matter of minutes.

1. Carman’s “The Champion”

The Christian artist with the highest concert attendance in history continues to be known for his storytelling songs, accompanied by the theatrical depiction of several characters. Out of his 10 million album selling-plus catalogue, “The Champion” is amongst his most famous expressions as it dramatically chronicles Christ’s death on the cross, the enemy’s temporary satisfaction, followed by the thundering announcement of His glorious resurrection. “He has won, He has won/ He’s alive forever more/ He is risen, He is Lord.”

2. Keith Green’s “Easter Song”

We may have lost him on this earth at a mere 28-years-old at the expense of a tragic plane crash in 1982, but Keith Green’s music lives on practically every Sunday in a church service. One particularly notable tune that gets plenty of exposure around this time of year is understandably “Easter Song,” during which the singer/songwriter/piano man proclaims the glory of the risen Christ, alongside a plea for non-believers to put their trust in Him. “Hear the bells ringing/ They’re singing that you can be born again/ Hear the bells ringing/ They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead.”

3. Fred Hammond’s “Celebrate (He Lives)”

Between his time in gospel group Commissioned through his own extensive solo career, Fred Hammond has sung so many soulful anthems it’s impossible to keep count. But across his entire ministry from the mid-1980s through today, few songs are as distinguished as “Celebrate (He Lives),” which is sure to send a shiver down listeners’ spines as he boisterously belts out the Good News. “Christ is risen just like He said/ The Lord and Savior is no longer dead/ Rejoice and celebrate He lives.”

4. Alan Jackson’s “The Old Rugged Cross”

From the early 1900s through today, everyone from Al Green to Andy Griffith to Kevin Max has covered this timeless hymn, and since it’s impossible to pick a definitive version, we’ll simply point to country great Alan Jackson’s most recent rendering. Told in his signature drawl and molded around earthy instrumentation, the honky tonk hero gets right to the meat of the message: “In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine/
Such a wonderful beauty I see/ For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died/ To pardon and sanctify me.”

5. NewSong’s “Arise My Love”

Long before NewSong was selling out arenas all across America with its Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the contemporary pop favorites were topping the charts with this classic ballad. Framed around the fellas’ flawless harmonies, this fellow anthem paints an emotive and poignant picture of what happened on Calvary and beyond. “The grave no longer has a hold on You/ No more death’s sting/ No more suffering/ Arise, arise My Love.”

6. Sandi Patty’s “Was It A Morning Like This”

One of America’s finest vocal treasures belted out a multitude of masterpieces during her prime and “Was It A Morning Like This” ranks right up there as one of her shining musical moments. Naturally, the sky high ballad centers around the Easter theme, particularly the reactions of Jesus’ closest followers to His resurrection, while concurrently sharing a bold message of praise and adoration. “Over and over like a trumpet underground/ Did the earth seem to pound ‘He is risen!’/ Over and over in a never-ending round/ He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

7. Matt Redman’s “Once Again”

In just the last few years, Matt Redman’s written the bulk of the modern day church’s worship standards, but flashing back to the beginning of his ministry uncovers one of his greatest gems. “Once Again” may not earn the airplay of say “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” anymore, but it’s been recorded by a whole host of fellow faith-centered singers (including another hit version from Fusebox), though no matter who’s behind the mic, it’s the message of Christ’s majesty that always takes center spotlight. “And once again I look upon the cross where You died/ I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside/ Once again I thank You/ Once again I pour out my life.”

8. Selah’s “Were You There”

Inspirational singers Selah bring their pristine blend of harmonies to this gripping narrative that paints a picture of the many emotions experienced by Christ’s disciples and followers surrounding His three days in the grave. Naturally though, the song hits its chilling crescendo when announcing the awe-inspiring resurrection with lines like: “Sometimes it makes me want to shout/ And I cry and I begin to tremble/ Were you there when He rose from the grave?”

9. Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise”

Perhaps more than any song in recent memory, this contemporary worship cut by Chris Tomlin is used most frequently in Easter services spanning pretty much every denomination. That’s because the contagious choruses proudly proclaim His rising with the utmost sense of conquest, enhanced all the more by a congregation with hands raised high. “Jesus has overcome/ And the grave is overwhelmed/ The victory is won/ He is risen from the dead.”

10. Darlene Zschech’s “Victor’s Crown”

Most frequently associated with the Hillsong Church in Australia but also a significant solo minister in her own right, Darlene Zschech is often considered a forerunner of the modern worship movement long before it dominated the radio. Though not as instantly recognizable as say “Shout To The Lord,” her very own “Victor’s Crown” could easily land in the same class of quality praise, especially around the Easter season as it eloquently assures: “You can never be defeated/ For You wear the Victor’s crown/ You are Jesus the Messiah/ You’re the Hope of all the world.”