Today’s hymn was sung in the church I visited, and I found myself working hard to focus on the words, not wanting my own challenge to you to be lost on me. Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus* is another great hymn of advent.
Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event, and for those who know him as Savior, there is no one more notable than Jesus. Even for those who do not claim him as Lord, he is still the most notable person in the history of the world. If you think about it, there is no other holiday we celebrate in such a way, with days and weeks leading up to that single event that changed the course of history. Paul says in Galatians 4,
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
That’s what Wesley’s hymn declared. God’s Son was born to set us free. The second verse gives several statements of what makes Jesus’ coming notable:
- Born Thy people to deliver
- Born a child, and yet a King
- Born to reign in us forever
- Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
While all this is true and reason enough to sing the praises of Christ’s birth, it is the last line that speaks to me the strongest today:
By Thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.
Christ alone is worthy, is sufficient in himself to offer to us eternal life. Peter tells us,
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.*
If you know him, I pray you will sing this song with a heart of thanksgiving and in expectation of the day when he will raise you to his glorious throne. If you do not know him, this can be your song of confession, asking him to rule in your heart alone. May we pray this song for the nations to know the All-Sufficient Christ, as we give witness to the King.
*Words: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788. Music: Rowland H. Prichard, 1811-1887.