December 4 - Messiah - Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - Messiah - Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us.

Messiah was never meant to be performed in a church.  While scripture is the foundation for the oratorio, this piece was designed for a theater. It is more like a surrogate opera, something that everyone should hear, not simply people who believe in Christ. If people were affected by the oratorio and found they wanted to go to church, that was fine; but neither proselytizing nor preaching was the main purpose of this piece.  Messiah was the only oratorio of Handel’s to ever be performed in a sacred building while Handel was alive.  During the last ten years of his life, it was performed every year in the chapel of the Foundling Hospital, the charity which received its funds from the performance of this oratorio.

The Savior of the World, conceived by the Holy Spirit.  When Isaiah spoke those words, people would have wondered at the possibility. But, these were people whose history was filled with the Exodus and Elijah, Elisha, King David, Gideon, Joshua, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.  They might have heard tales from other cultures about virgin births, but they knew that the Lord God Almighty, the Lord of Hosts, the Creator of all the existed was able to bring salvation to all because they knew what had happened in their own history.  So, they began praying for the moment when this would occur.

Simeon (Luke 2:25-32) had been praying and waiting for the coming of the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before seeing the Messiah.  When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for circumcision, he was there to praise God. He saw the salvation which God had prepared as a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Israel.  The moment in time for which the people of Israel had been praying, had arrived.