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Eurasia Blog Wednesday Devotion: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”

This week’s Wednesday Devotion focuses on the hymn, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” Lutheran Service Book (LSB) hymn 338. Today’s devotion was written by Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Missionary Rev. Robert Flohrs, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany. Trinity is the English speaking congregation for expatriates. This hymn is a favorite of Pastor Flohrs and was chosen by him for this week’s Advent hymn devotion. The hymn was again sung and played by Rev. Dr. Christopher S. Ahlman.

The Sterne (star) hanging in the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany. This is a German tradition.

The Sterne (star) hanging in the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany. This is a German tradition.

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 ev’ry nation,
Joy of ev’ry 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 Thy all-sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy gracious throne. (LSB 338)

Charles Wesley, who wrote this hymn, knew what it meant for people not to be free. When he was about thirty years old, he traveled to America on a mission, where he saw slavery in its rawest form. He recorded in his journal that he had seen parents give their child a slave to torment. For the next several decades, his sermons and hymns reminded people that through Jesus Christ they were free from the slavery of sin, free from fear and freed to be His disciples.

One of the Bible verses for the basis of this hymn is from Isaiah:

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jesus applied the above words to Himself at the Synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21), showing that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. This hymn tells that story in just a few words.  “From fears and sins release us” reminds us that through Christ all our fears and sins can be laid at the foot of the cross.

What I find so comforting in this hymn is how in just a few words we are reminded why Jesus came to earth and lived among us. How He is with us every day and on the Last Day we, as believers in Him, will sit with Him at His Heavenly Throne.

As Advent is a season of preparation, this hymn also reminds me of God’s enduring and all-encompassing love through our “long expected Jesus.”  No matter what is going on in my life I remember the comforting words of this hymn as I call out “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.”

The Chancel Choir of Trinity Lutheran Church and Frankfurt performing during Advent last year.

The Chancel Choir of Trinity Lutheran Church and Frankfurt performing during Advent last year.

Let us Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to release us from our fears and sins; grant that we may eagerly await His Second-Coming and strengthen us as we wait so that we may live in hope and not fear; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

  • Last week’s Wednesday devotion focused on “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People.” You can read it here.
  • As Christmas falls on Wednesday next week, be sure to check the Eurasia Blog on MONDAY, December 23 for the final Advent hymn devotion. We will do a special edition of our Eurasia Blog Wednesday devotion in order to finish out all 4 weeks of Advent hymns. The Eurasia Blog Wednesday will return to Wednesdays on January 1, 2014!

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