Jesus Shall Reign (4)

Every Friday in 2015 we consider a verse from our “Hymn of the Month.”

Blessings abound wherever He reigns
The prisoner leaps to lose His chains
The weary find eternal rest
And all the sons of want are blest

God’s love is so bountiful and so obvious that the Apostle John can write the words, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The highest expression of that love is found at the cross (Romans 5:8). And yet God’s love extends beyond the cross. The Apostle Paul writes, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God has already shown us the greatest expression of love in Christ, why would he hold back from giving other expressions of his love to us?

The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is what we celebrate in the fourth verse of Jesus Shall Reign. We’ve been focusing on the lordship of Jesus thus far in the hymn, and we now turn to look at the fruit of his reign.

We open with the grand declaration that “Blessings abound wherever He reigns.” The gospels are packed with testimonies of the blessings that follow Christ. When asked to confirm his Messiahship to his cousin John, Jesus points to prophesies in Isaiah for proof. He tells John’s disciples, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matthew 11:4-5). Indeed, to know Christ as King is to know blessing.

Likewise, to know Christ as King is to know freedom. We sing, “The prisoner leaps to lose His chains.” The prisoner is one bound by sin, and shame, and guilt. He is condemned by his own conscience (Romans 2:15). He is condemned by the testimony of God himself (John 16:8). But where Christ reigns, there is liberty. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Where Christ reigns there is also rest. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). So we sing, “The weary find eternal rest.” In the Old Testament part of the key promises made of the Promised Land was the hope of rest (cf. Deuteronomy 12:9-10). God himself rested (Genesis 2:2), which points to work and striving being finished. The promise of rest to the Christian is a great comfort and hope, and “the promise of entering his rest still stands” (Hebrews 4:1).

Finally, we see that where Jesus reigns all needs are met. “And all the sons of want are blest.” All that is required to experience the blessings of Christ is to be in need of them. As we saw in the third verse of this hymn the right posture of humility we ought to take. James advises us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).

Oh to know the blessings of Christ’s reign.