by Lorilee Mundfrom
One of my favorite Advent hymns is Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, written by Charles Wesley. It is a majestic, exciting hymn which welcomes Jesus who has been expected for so long! Certainly the first coming of Jesus fulfilled the longings of those believers in the Old Testament who had been faithful to the promise of Christ’s coming. The Old Testament Scriptures contain many promises regarding His coming.
Isaiah 7:14 says: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (ESV). The name “Immanuel” means “God with us”. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (NKJ) In Micah 5:2, we read that from Bethlehem would come a ruler whose “goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (NASB)
In the New Testament, Luke 2 speaks of Simeon, a man of faith, who had been praying and “looking for the consolation of Israel” (v. 25) When Simeon saw Jesus as an infant, he knew this Child was the fulfillment of his hope. Wesley uses the words”Israel’s strength and consolation” to describe Jesus in this hymn.
Certainly Christ fulfilled these prophecies, and Christ is the “hope of all the earth” as Wesley states. Wesley also calls Jesus the “dear desire of every nation”. Jesus came into the world to bring salvation to all people. But even more, Jesus is the “joy of every longing heart”. He is the only One who can satisfy the longing of every soul.
Do you know this “long expected Jesus”? Is He your hope? Is He your joy? I pray that during this Advent season of expectation you are not only expecting Christmas to come, but that you are expecting and looking for Jesus to come again to bring you to dwell with Him for eternity.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.