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"Then Jesus Came" A Hymn about Love

then jesus came hymn
"Then Jesus Came" is a Hymn about Love. We see through His life His amazing power to totally change situations from hopeless to glorious.

Then Jesus Came: 4 Miracles of Love

“Then Jesus Came” is a hymn that demonstrates BIBLICAL THEOLOGY. Oswald J. Smith was the writer, and this song had a personal impact on my life in 2 ways. One you will read below, the other is that my brother interviewed him in 1970 in his capacity as a chronicler of well-known hymns.

The Biblical theology here is the nature of Jesus, the Son of God in human flesh.
We see His love for us by His willingness to leave the safety of His heavenly home and His desire to dwell among us, experiencing our lives as we live them.
He sees and goes through temptation and trials with us, is “moved with compassion,” and acts on our behalf, bringing blessing and good to situations and people that were corrupt and evil.

The Gospels show us 4 instances of this that Oswald J. Smith has captured in these verses. I have a personal experience that relates to the chorus and the line “for all is changed, when Jesus comes to stay.”

A Blind Man Shivers in Darkness: Then Jesus Came

St. Luke tells this story of Jesus passing by the city of Jericho. Suddenly a blind beggar cried out to Him disrupting the journey of Jesus and His disciples. "Have mercy on me!” he kept shouting over and over. The crowd told him to shut up, but he cried out even louder. Jesus had him brought to Him and asked him what he wanted. “That I may receive my sight,” the man responded.

And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: all the people, when they saw it, praised God. – Luke 18:42-43

See how beautifully Oswald Smith transforms the prose into poetry:

One sat alone beside the highway begging, His eyes were blind, the light he could not see; He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows, Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee.

Smith assumes we know the story, and the story teaches Biblical theology about Jesus and His prophetic and historic position as the “Son of David.” Yet none of this explains the divine power of Jesus who overcomes the devil and evil with His power that ensures that “the tempter’s power is broken.”

The refrain universalizes the particular incident into an eternal truth applicable to us all.

  • When Jesus comes the tempter’s pow’r is broken; When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away. He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory, For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.

Demons Hold a Desperate Soul in Misery: Then Jesus Came

St. Mark is the Evangelist here, telling the story of this “demoniac” so powerful that chains could not bind him, so violent and fierce that he was driven from the society and took refuge among the tombs of the dead.

The demons in this poor man knew Jesus and begged Him to let them alone, but the man, possessed as he was, ran and worshipped Jesus! This self-destructive maniac, who cut himself under the demons’ power, still was human enough to seek the divine Master.

Jesus drove the demons out of the man and sent them into a herd of pigs, who immediately ran off a cliff and destroyed themselves. But the man? Well, the whole city witnessed the ruckus and the dramatic destruction of the swine. They came en mass to see what was going on:

And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. – Mark 5:15

Why do you suppose they were afraid? They knew this was the power of God and that it resided in this Man.

From home and friends, the evil spirits drove him, Among the tombs he dwelt in misery; He cut himself as demon pow’rs possessed him, Then Jesus came and set the captive free.

Here is more Biblical theology that Smith has woven into his song. It is the prophetic mission that Jesus Himself recited at the beginning of His ministry:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. – Jesus in Luke 4:18-19

A Leper and others Gripped by Fear: Then Jesus Came

In the very first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus beginning His ministry in Galilee. A leper came to Him, kneeling, and beseeching Him and recognizing that Jesus had the power to heal Him. “if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” It was a bold statement from a courageous and desperate man.

Lepers were shunned and driven out of society. They were taught to call out “Unclean, unclean!” to whomever they met. Perhaps he came in fear that he would be reproved and commanded to go back to the leper colony. But this was Jesus! He had a different spirit:

And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. – Mark 1: 41

The man was healed immediately and was so overjoyed, he went through all of that region telling them what Jesus had done. Multitudes flocked to Him for healing, so much so that He could no longer enter their cities openly so He withdrew.

But they continued to come to Him a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and He healed them all. Many of those in misery were possessed by demons, what the Bible calls "unclean spirits," and Jesus cast them out and set the person free. The demons knew who Jesus was and often cried out begging Him to let them alone. But demons then and now must go when Jesus speaks.

“Unclean! unclean!” the leper cried in torment, The deaf, the dumb, in helplessness stood near; The fever raged, disease had gripped its victim, Then Jesus came and cast out every fear.

Here again, Smith’s artistry shows the hard facts of Biblical theology, Jesus as the Deliverer, the Promised One who has come to make sure the tempter’s power is broken and to heal the brokenhearted.

Death Takes a Brother from Grieving Sisters: Then Jesus Came

But it is in the Gospel of John, the “disciple that Jesus loved,” that Oswald Smith finds the dramatic highpoint of Jesus’ wonder-working power. Here we read about His friend Lazarus of Bethany, to whose home He often retired for rest and to enjoy the company of his friend and two sisters. Lazarus was a special man with a close relationship with the Lord, and yet he died.

His sisters were heartbroken and near despair:

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. She and her sister Mary were distraught. They knew Jesus as a Friend and were disappointed in His friendship.

But He was about to reveal Himself to them in another role: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 11:25

He went to the tomb where they had laid him and commanded them to remove the stone covering the entrance. His sister protested that the body was already decomposing and would stink.

But Jesus was not deterred. He knew what He was going to do. He prayed to His Father thanking Him for always hearing Him. Then, He cried with a loud voice:

Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. – John 11:43-44

Smith’s stanza packs all of this into these 4 simple yet powerful lines:

Their hearts were sad as in the tomb they laid him, For death had come and taken him away; Their night was dark and bitter tears were falling, Then Jesus came and night was turned to day.

The night was indeed turned to day as the Resurrection and the Life, the Light of the World came and quickened and poured out His grace and life-giving power.

I Struggled in Fear and Breathlessness: Then Jesus Came

The last stanza moves from the narrative to the prophetic, proclaiming the Biblical theology of “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today forever.” Hebrews 13:8

So men today have found the Savior able, They could not conquer passion, lust, and sin; Their broken hearts had left them sad and lonely, Then Jesus came and dwelt, Himself, within. OSWALD JEFFREY SMITH (1889-1986)

Here the emphasis is on Jesus’ role as Savior and His promise to come into our hearts and live there. What could be more wonderful? Jesus does take the gloom and fills our lives with glory, for ALL is changed when Jesus comes to stay.

This song plays a key role in my Christian testimony. When I was a little boy, I was very sick with a variety of maladies, so much so that I could not breathe deeply enough to fall asleep at night. As I would cry and struggle for breath, my mother would often hold me and sing this song. We also had a 78 rpm record of GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA singing it.

While I was having a hard time breathing during a sleepless night, my mother put on this record. As the music played, I felt the Presence of Jesus in that room, and I knew He was real and that He cared for me! At once, I was able to breathe and entered into a kind of rest that only Jesus could provide. That night, I took the first step into His kingdom as I accepted His sublime invitation:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11;:28

There was no visible miracle that night, nor was it a Damascus Road experience. But it was a miracle of love. It was Jesus letting me know that He loved me by allowing me to sense His presence in my room.

He has never left me since, nor let me down, although I have left and let Him down many times. Why? Because He made me and looks upon me as an artist looks upon His masterpiece and as a dear child. That's how He looks at you too. He sees us not as the unlovely sinners that we are, but as the glorious person He designed us to be.

Have you a “situation” that needs His attention? Take Him at His word, When you call, He will come to save you. That is Who He is, and He will fill your heart with His goodness and health. Trust Him today to meet your every need and to fill your life with glory.

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