The Coming One

John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Luke 7:20)

The Christ of the Old Testament, the Savior promised to fallen man, was given many titles and names in the numerous prophecies penned by God’s prophets.  One name/title that was in the minds and on the lips of God’s people at the time of John the Baptist was The Coming One, also translated He Who Comes.[1] In Sunday’s Gospel, John the Baptist directs his disciples to question Jesus using this “technical” title: ‘Are you the one who is to come [Coming One], or shall we look for another?’  It is obviously appropriate that during the season of Advent—a season set apart to recognize the past, present and future coming of Jesus—we consider this important appellation of The Coming One.

It appears that along with the titles Christ and Son of God, The Coming One also ranks high on the list as a title for Jesus.  For instance at the occasion of the raising of Lazarus Jesus set forth the lofty description of His salvation:  I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die [Jn 11:25,26]. He then asked Lazarus’ sister Martha, Do you believe this?  She answered, Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world [v 27].  Martha’s last description of her faith confesses Jesus as the Coming One.

A similar confession was made by the multitudes who received the miraculously multiplied fish and bread: This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world [Jn 6:14].  Quite literally the Greek wording here describes Jesus as the Coming One into the world.

As a final example, consider the cry of God’s people when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday:  Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord [Mt 21:9].  Literally the Greek says, Blessed [be] the Coming One in the name of the Lord.  This is the identical wording of Jesus when He lamented over Jerusalem: For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord [Mt 23:39]…literally, Blessed [be] the Coming One in the name of the Lord. This will be a foundational confession of those who “see” Jesus to be Christ and Savior, that He is the Coming One, in the name of the Lord. This is a foundational confession of every Christian.

Whence did this title arise?  It especially arose from the great liturgical confession of the Jews, Psalm 118.  This Psalm was the climactic Psalm of the Egyptian Hallel (Psalms 113-118) which was chanted at least 19 times in a given year. At the slaying of the Passover lambs, emphasis was placed on Psalm 118:25,26: Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.  These verses were especially important and memorable to the laity, as in the temple at the Passover sacrifice they were privileged to join with the Levites in chanting these verses.  Observe a key phrase in these verses, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  The Jews at the time of Jesus recognized the Christ in these verses, and He was here directly linked to the slaying of the Passover Lamb.  Jesus is truly the Coming One in the name of the Lord; He is the long-awaited promised One, and He came into the world to be our Passover Lamb, causing death to pass over by His death and resurrection.  Blessed is the Coming One!

[1] The Greek is  ἐρχόμενος. This is the consistent Greek wording in every text referenced in this writing. Sometimes the pronoun (“He” or “The One”) is separated from “coming” by a few words of description.  A couple of other biblical references not cited in this essay are Matt. 3:11; Heb. 10:5-9.  The Hebrews 10 reference also shows that Psalm 40:6-8 was likewise a prophecy of the Christ, wherein He is described as the Coming One.  Hebrews 10 also segways into a discussion of the Lord’s Supper, when liturgically God’s people also cry out, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.”  The Coming One truly comes in His sacred meal!