Come, thou long-expected Jesus

The Standard December 9, 2021

Charles Wesley, the 18th child of 19 children born to Susanna and Samuel Wesley in England in 1707, wrote thousands of hymns while serving as a minister and an evangelist.  In 1744 Wesley, reading the words of Haggai 2:7, was moved as he thought of the many orphans and all of the poverty he saw around him.

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” (Haggai 2:6-9)

Wesley published a prayer that he later adapted into a hymn, which many of us love to sing during Advent. This hymn first became popular in England after Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, at the age of 21, included sections from it in a sermon in 1855.

“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.”

According to a commentary on Haggai chapter 2 from Abide in Christ Ministries, “The ‘shaking’ is a herald of the coming of the Lord to judge the nations of the earth.” “The later prophets employed the imagery of the shaking of the nations as the inauguration of the messianic age.” The Jewish people had been waiting in hope for centuries for God’s promised Messiah to come save them. In Jesus, the “consolation” of Israel and the “desire of every nation,” the many prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled.

“Then Isaiah said, ‘Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’” (Isaiah 7:13-14) “’But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.’ Therefore, Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:2-4)

As Christians we not only celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child as a babe in the manger, but wait expectantly for his Second Coming. Come, Lord Jesus.

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