Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

The very first churches I knew were Methodist.  Most every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life you could find me somewhere around East Cross United Methodist Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Of the many blessings I received from that heritage was a knowledge of John and Charles Wesley.  Though the Wesley’s never set out to start “Methodism” God used them to reform the Church of England and call it to both passion and application.  If Luther’s reform in Germany was about orthodoxy, the Wesley’s reform in England 200 years later was about orthopraxy . . . as much about what we do as what we believe.

While John Wesley was the preacher, Charles Wesley is best known for the hymns he wrote.  One of the 18 Christmas carols Wesley wrote was “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”  This song not only laid out sound theology and Scriptural references, but called followers of Jesus to act in certain ways.

The first verse points out Jesus has released us from our “fears and sins” (Romans 6:5-11).  This is a theological truth . . . but the application of this truth is that we would find “our rest in Thee.”

In the second verse, Jesus is described as “a child, and yet a King (Isaiah 9:6-7).”  Charles takes the next line, though, and drives it home, saying that Jesus was “Born to reign in us forever . . . Rule in all our hearts alone.”  The application is not just to say that Jesus is the “King of Kings,” but to have Him be our King – the ultimate authority in our lives.  

This Christmas, as you sing Wesley’s song, may you have a reformation of your practice.  May you find your rest in Jesus, the ultimate authority in your life!

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

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

You draw the hearts of shepherds
You draw the hearts of kings
Even as a baby
You were changing everything
You called me to Your Kingdom
Before Your lips could speak
And even as a baby
You were reaching out for me

And now we are awaiting
The day of Your return
When every eye will see You
As heaven comes to earth
Until the sky is opened
Until the trumpet sounds
The bride is getting ready
The church is singing out

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
Come Thou long expected King


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