January 7: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Come, promised King!
As we sang Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus throughout Advent, we looked forward to our celebration of Jesus’s birth. We wondered at the simultaneous majesty and intimacy of the Desire of Nations becoming the joy of our longing hearts.
On the second and third Sundays of Advent, we sang the story of his birth in verses 2 and 3, reflecting on Jesus as the promised Dayspring, Rod of Jesse, and Redeemer. We saw that Jesus claims these titles not only for the Israelites, but for all who would believe in him, for all who would call on his name (John 11:51-52, Acts 2:38-39, Romans 9:8, Galatians 3:26-29, John 1:12-13, etc…).
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we sang the final verse of “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” and now we turn to the expectation of his return. Jesus has been born—a child and yet a King; now, we anticipate his rule. We long for the day when Jesus will come to establish his reign.
At that time, the nations will come streaming to the Desire of Nations to worship him.
The Dayspring from on high will shine with everlasting light.
The Rod of Jesse will stand in full bloom, overflowing with the branches of his children.
And we will reign with him, completely free from the curse of sin and death, because of the all-sufficient merit of our Redeemer.
In this final verse of “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” Wesley revisits his theme of majesty and intimacy—recognizing that Jesus’s reign will be both in us and in the world, both in our hearts and on his throne. While we wait for his return, we call on his name and ask him to be our Desire and Joy, Dayspring, Rod of Jesse, and Redeemer. We ask him to reign, by his own eternal Spirit, in our hearts alone—and, when he returns, to raise us to his glorious throne.
For Reflection: Read Revelation 22. What does this passage say about Jesus as the Desire of Nations, Dayspring, Rod of Jesse, and Redeemer? What does it say about his coming reign as King? Today, ask Jesus to reign in your longing heart. And together with John, the author of Revelation, and with Wesley and Hunt, the authors of “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” pray: Come, Lord Jesus.