Tuesday, December 18, 2012
ADVENT TUESDAY DAY SEVENTEEN: MESSIAH
Today is Tuesday and the seventeenth day of Advent. Our word for today is "Messiah."
John 1:40 One of the two men who followed Jesus after they heard John speak about him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and say to him, “We have found the Messiah.” (“Messiah” means “Christ.”) (NCV)
In the King James version of the New Testament the word "Messiah" does not appear. Instead the word "Christ" is used. "Christ" is the New Testament word for Messiah. The Jewish people were very familiar with the word. In the above reference Andrew told his brother Simon Peter that they had found the Messiah. Messiah or Christ literally means "the anointed one." It refers to the prophecy of the coming of a king who would bring salvation. And that is why there was so much excitement surrounding the birth of Jesus the Christ.
Luke 2:11 Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. (NCV)
The angels announced to the shepherds that the Savior was born (to save was His mission.) They continued to say He was Christ (Messiah) the Lord.
For the first fifteen hundred years of Christian history the most emphasised Christian celebration was the Resurrection, and rightly so. But in the last few centuries we have come to celebrate the coming of Christ. If he had not come there would have been no sacrifice or Resurrection. If Christ was to be the savior his coming had to be miraculous. And it was! He was born of a virgin, and immediately worshiped by shepherds, kings, and prophets.
Last night my wife and I attended a presentation of Handel's Messiah. It was a moving performance. Handel was an eighteenth century musical genius, but he was also a great Christian. He wrote the entire score and words (260 pages) in twenty four days. When he finished writing what would become known as the Hallelujah Chorus, the concluding chorus, he said, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God himself."
Until his death, Handel conducted 30 performances of Messiah (none at Christmastime, for Handel saw it as a piece for Lent), only one of which was in a church, Bristol Cathedral. In that audience sat John Wesley. "I doubt if that congregation was ever so serious at a sermon as they were during this performance," he remarked.
One wonderful thing about this special oratorio, is that it does not leave Christ in the manger. It tells the complete story. It goes from the message in the Old Testament to the manger, then from the manger to the cross, and then from the cross to His Resurrection and reigning on high. The most recognized part of the whole oratorio is the last chorus, "The Hallelujah Chorus." Handel draws from Revelation 19:6,11,15,15:
Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kindom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!
This Christmas season observe Jesus the Messiah in the manger, but do not leave Him there. He is alive and He is reigning over a spiritual kingdom, and one day He will come to reign over all earthly kingdoms. He will come back one day as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Is He your king and is He Lord of your life? If not, accept Him today.
OH SING HALLELUJAH TO THE LORD!