The Bible tells a story. Not just any story but a redemption story – THE redemption story. From Genesis the story unfolds to reveal the need of a savior, the need for one to come and save people from the sin that plagued mankind from Adam’s sin in the garden. Throughout the Old Testament we see God raise people up for his glory and we see them fall in sin. There was a need for someone greater. One who would come to put and end to sin once and for all. That one was and is Jesus – God incarnate, Immanuel (God with us), the Word made flesh.
Over 2,000 years ago, God sent his Son into this world as a redeemer to set his people free. To break the chains of sin that held mankind captive. That’s why I love the Charles Wesley hymn ‘Come Thou Long Expected Jesus’. Read the words of the song below and see how the redemption cry is so purposefully penned in the lyrics of the song. (Click the image if you’d like to read it in hymnal form)
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 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.
There are a few words that stand out to me in this hymn.
Expected – There was an eager awaiting for the Messiah. Israel was waiting in great expectation for their redeemer to come. Though He certainly didn’t come as expected.
Rest – The world was restless. There are 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. The world was getting restless in the battle with sin and the wait for the savior. Jesus supplies our rest.
Hope – Jesus gives hope! Hope for salvation, hope for living. The hope of one day dwelling with him forever and ever in the perfect New Heaven & New Earth where sin and death are completely wiped away!
Joy – We all crave joy, that inner gladness that can excite us even in the hardest of times. Jesus alone satisfies the longing of our hearts.
Deliver – To deliver means to bring something to somewhere. Jesus came to deliver us from our sin to life in Him. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
King – Jesus was not just a baby with humble beginnings or a poor carpenter. Jesus Christ is the King of kings! As Nathaniel exclaims in John 1:49, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” He is the one who sits on the throne, who rules and reigns forever and ever, and at his name every knee will bow both on earth and under the earth!
Merit – The last verse of the song reminds us that our salvation and entrance into the kingdom of God is based not on our good behavior but on the merit of Christ alone! Through his perfect sacrifice we are given life!
And we wait in hopeful expectation for Christ to come again as He promised. Come thou long expected Jesus!