By Travis Lauterbach
Charles Wesley, one of the most famous hymn writers, is probably best known for the Christmas hymn- “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
During his life, Wesley wrote more than 6000 hymns. For those counting, that’s like writing one hymn every single day for more than fifteen years.
Among his hymns, Wesley wrote a shorter Advent hymn that also reached a good level of popularity- “Come- Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”
This hymn touches on the three major themes of Advent: Jesus’ coming to the world, His coming to people today, and His coming on the last day.
The hymn begins: “Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set they people free.”
From what do people need to be set free?
Wesley answers in the next line, “From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.”
Jesus said, “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin… So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34, 36)
Later in the hymn, Wesley writes, “Born to reign in us forever, Now they gracious kingdom bring.”
Jesus comes in our day to rule in the hearts of His people. Among other Scripture passages, this is Paul’s desire- “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Colossians 3:17)
Wesley finishes the hymn, anticipating the return of Jesus- “By Thine all-sufficient merit Raise us to Thy glorious throne.”
Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)
By His suffering and death for the world’s sins, Jesus secures the heavenly kingdom for all who believe.
This hymn beautifully sets forth the focus of Christians during Advent: the birth of Jesus to save people from sin, His coming now to rule in hearts by faith, and His return on the last day for His people.
Travis Lauterbach is the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church located in the Falcon Ridge Business Park in Mesquite, NV.