“WHEN JESUS COMES”
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21)
INTRO.: A song which reminds us that when the Lord returns, those who have been good and faithful servants will enter into the joy of the Lord is “When Jesus Comes” (#653 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written and the tune was composed both by James Washington Gaines (1881-1937). It was copyrighted in 1923. Other well-known songs by Gaines include “Take My Hand and Lead Me,” “In That Home of the Soul,” and the music to “You Never Mentioned Him to Me.” Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “When Jesus Comes” (not to be confused with the Fanny Crosby hymn “Will Jesus Find Us Watching” which begins, “When Jesus comes to reward His servants”) has appeared in the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard; the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat ; and the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church and the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.; in addition to Hymns for Worship.
The song encourages us to look forward to and prepare for the second coming of Christ.
I. Stanza 1 tells us what will happen when Jesus returns
When Jesus comes again to gather His own,
And to the true a crown is given,
I want to hear Him say, “My servant, well done,
Thy soul shall know the joys of heaven.”
- Someday Jesus will come again to gather His own: 1 Thess. 4:13-17
- Then a crown will be given to those who have been true in enduring temptation: Jas. 1:12
- Also, they will hear Him say, “Enter in”: Matt. 25:34
II. Stanza 2 tells us how to prepare for His return
I want to tell to all the story of love,
That they may know His pardon free,
And there before His throne in glory above,
Receive a crown of victory.
- We need to tell to all the story of love by teaching others also: 2 Tim. 2:2
- Of course, both we and they need to know His pardon free: Isa. 55:7
- And we must be faithful to receive the crown of victory: Rev. 2:10
III. Stanza 3 tells us why He will return
He’s coming back again, His jewels to claim,
They shall receive eternal rest;
’Tis sweet to know that all who come in His name
Shall there be numbered with the blest.
- When Jesus comes back, He will claim His jewels: Mal. 3:17
- These shall then receive eternal rest: Heb. 4:8-9
- And they will be numbered with the blest or redeemed of all ages: Rev. 7:9-10
IV. Stanza 3 tells us about when He will return
I do not know the day my Savior will come,
But I must be prepared to go;
If I am ready, He will call me His own,
And that’s enough for me to know.
- We do not know when the Savior will come: Matt. 24:36
- Therefore, we need to be prepared: Matt. 24:44
- If we are ready, He will call us to the resurrection of life: Jn. 5:28-29
CONCL.: The chorus (which I usually omit) talks about the desire of the Christian regarding Christ’s return.
I want to know that He will welcome me there,
I do not want to be denied;
I want to meet Him in that city so fair,
And ever there with Him abide.
In the original edition of Hymns for Worship, this song was listed under “Special Selections” with the note, “This section has been provided for songs with more difficult music and different textual style. The usefulness of these selections is left to the discretion of each congregation and user.” This note is omitted in the Revised Edition. I do not think that I have ever been in an assembly where this song has been sung, but having looked it over I doubt if it is one that could be rendered effectively in most congregations due to its more difficult music and textual style, especially in the chorus. Still, there is nothing unscriptural about the words, and we do need to remember that it is important to be ready “When Jesus Comes.”