Responding to the Messiah

Editor’s note: This post originally published December 2012. In the midst of this pandemic, may the words of the Messiah resonate in our heart even if we cannot hear the scripture sung by a choir.

Once again I had the opportunity to attend a performance of Handel’s Messiah. No matter how many times I hear it, the music and the words continue to leave me in awe of what God did for us in sending his son Jesus to redeem us. Yet as I sat in the packed audience, I could not help but wonder how many of those seated in the auditorium missed the message of Jesus Christ being sung that afternoon. I wondered how many only saw this as a beautiful concert that made a nice Christmas tradition.

I have known people who sang in performances of the Messiah or accompanied the choir with a musical instrument. In rehearsal after rehearsal, they repeatedly heard scripture such as Isaiah 40:5, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it;” or Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” They watched audiences stand for the “Hallelujah” chorus where the words from Revelation 11:15 resonated through the auditorium, “…he shall reign forever and ever.” Despite hearing scripture over and over, their hearts remained cold toward Jesus Christ. They remained like those who Paul wrote about in Ephesians 4:18, “…they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him (NLT).”

It reminds me that sometimes the Christmas Story can become too routine or seeped too much in tradition. We can hear the words of scripture about Christ’s birth recited again and again without stopping to truly reflect on the significance of this event. This season be sure to meditate on 1 Corinthians 15:57 sung near the end of the Handel’s Messiah, “But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Let our Alleluia chorus be a true song of praise for God’s grace in sending his son Jesus to redeem the world.

© 2012 CGThelen


9 thoughts on “Responding to the Messiah

  1. During my childhood years, my dad played The Messiah in the house loudly every year during the holidays. Such exquisite beauty full of His presence! Seeing a live performance of it would be absolutely amazing. I could see, though, how individuals not sensitive to the Holy Spirit could miss the main point of it. May the Lord continue to deepen our sensitivity to His movements and His presence and His messages!

    1. The live performance is amazing. I like what David said in his comment, “God’s word does not return to Him void.” Indeed, may His presence and His message be evident. Blessings.

  2. Thank you for this beautifully written reminder of Handel’s Messiah, one of my favourite pieces of music. I had the privilege of singing it with the Fife Youth Choir many years ago, it certainly had a profound effect on me as a young man. One of my favourite stories about Handel’s Messiah is when Smith Wigglesworth went to hear it at the very austere Royal Albert Hall in London, at the end he jumped out his seat shouting “Hallelujah praise the Lord!” much to the shock of all around him.

    1. I was not familiar with the Wigglesworth story. Great response! Glad you had a chance to sing in it. What a great experience. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

  3. Understood. But on the other hand, God promises that His Word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish what He set out for it to do.—sorry, I don’t recall the reference.
    Two hours of listening to Messiah is better than watching a movie that glorifies a myriad of evil thoughts and actions.
    I understand what you mean, CG, and have thought the same myself—I’ve sung in Messiah several times.
    I’m just playing the angels advocate today. 😀
    God’s best to you.

    1. Good thoughts. I agree. It’s better to have people listen to scripture. Indeed, the music is sowing seeds and will not return to Him void. People will be without excuse having heard God’s word.

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