Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

December 24, 1998

During this Christmas week, I thought it would be refreshing to take a break from the political and social commentaries that I do and focus on the music of Christmas. Today I would like to look at the hymn "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus" by Charles Wesley, written in 1744.

It reads: "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 own sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne."

Charles Wesley reminds us that Israel longed for the coming Messiah. Jesus was the literal fulfillment of those many messianic prophecies written down in the Old Testament. Isaiah says that He would be born of a virgin, that his name would mean "God with us" and that he would be called "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, eternal Father, the Prince of Peace."

In the New Testament we have the story of Simeon, a man of faith who is described in Luke 2 as one who was "looking for the consolation of Israel." He was promised that He would see the Messiah before he died. Charles Wesley was borrowing from this passage when he described Jesus in this song as "Israel's strength and consolation."

But Jesus came not just to the Jews, but to bring salvation to the whole world. That is what Wesley meant when he describes Christ as the "hope of all the earth" and the "dear desire of every nation." Finally Jesus is the "joy of every longing heart." Only Jesus Christ can meet the needs of our soul; let's remember that this Christmas season.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International