First performed in 1742, the words of the 53 movements of Handel's Messiah are entirely from the Bible. One writer has said that the message of The Messiah, "has probably done more to convince thousands of mankind that there is a God about us than all the theological works ever written."
The words of the 11th movement are from the book of Isaiah, "The people that walked in the darkness have seen
a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isaiah 9:2).
Isaiah saw a light coming and 800 years later the apostle
John was able to testify that the light had come! That light
is Jesus who shines into the darkness of our sinful lives and transforms us from the inside out. But sadly not everyone wants his light. Isaiah spoke so accurately when he said that the darkness would not understand the light. The simple fact is, we live in an increasingly dark world - a world which is becoming less and less interested in the truths of Scripture and more and more tolerant of spiritual darkness - and this includes Australia.
Does this mean we resign ourselves to do nothing and let darkness run its course? Definitely not! The 12th movement continues with these familiar words prophesied by Isaiah,
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called: Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!" (Isaiah 9:6).
In this verse Isaiah speaks of the first coming of Jesus when, two thousand years ago, God sent his Son into the world as a human baby. It was God's plan that Jesus would live among us as a suffering servant and later die for the sins of the world. God gave his one and only Son to rescue a lost mankind from sin. But also in this verse Isaiah speaks of the second coming of Jesus which would bring to complete fulfillment all that God purposed in his first coming. At his first coming He did not come to reign on earth but to reign instead in the hearts of all who believe in him. At his second coming, Jesus will return to establish a new and perfect government on earth over which he will reign forever as King Jesus, our Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. This is good news for our weary, war-torn world. Hallelujah!
During the London premiere of The Messiah in 1743, King George II of England stood to his feet during the opening lines of the magnificent "Hallelujah Chorus". In doing so, he openly acknowledged that he came under the reign of Almighty God, the "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev 19:16). This began a tradition that has remained to this day with whole audiences standing to their feet during the Hallelujah chorus.
This Christmas please pray a blessing on our leaders and their families - Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten as well as former leaders Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Pray also for your own state and local leaders and any others God has put on your heart that they might welcome "the true light that gives light to every man" (John 1:9).
Have a blessed Christmas time!
Yours for our Messiah and soon coming King,
David Rowsome and Warwick Marsh