The Have's And The Have Nots
Have you ever considered the confident assertion of the songs of Christmas? They declare the incredible gift of God's grace in salvation. One of the greatest songs is Handel's Messiah. Perhaps the biography of how we received this great song will stir our love for the Christ we possess this morning! This great masterpieces of music composition is the work of George Frederic Handel simply called Messiah.
Prior to its composition Handel had not been successful as a musician and had retired from much professional activity by the age of fifty-six. Then, in a remarkable series of events, a friend presented him with a libretto based on the life of Christ, the entire script of which was Scripture. Handel shut himself in his room on Brook Street in London. In twenty-four days, breathtakingly absorbed in this composition and hardly eating or drinking, Handel completed the work all the way to its orchestration. He was a man in the grip of profound inspiration. Later, as he groped for words to describe what he had experienced, he quoted Saint Paul, saying, "Whether I was in the body or out of my body when wrote it I know not." Handel's servant testified that on one occasion en he walked into the room to plead with him to eat, he saw Handel with tears streaming down his face saying, "I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God Himself "
When Messiah was staged in London, as the notes of the Hallelujah Chorus rang out-"King of Kings and Lord of Lords.... And He shall reign forever and ever"-the king of England, drawn irresistibly, stood to his feet, and the audience followed as one.
Listen to how one writer sums up the impact of Messiah:
Handel personally conducted more than thirty performances of Messiah; many of these concerts were for the benefit of the hurting and the needy. 'Messiah has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, fostered the orphan...... Another wrote, "Perhaps the works of no other composer have so largely contributed to the relief of human suffering." Still another said, "Messiah music has done more to convince thousands of mankind that there is a God about us than all the theological works ever written."6
Even if overstated, the point is well taken. The work was based entirely on Scripture. The focus was on the person of Christ. The spirit of a man was enraptured by the holiness of God. A king rose spontaneously to his feet. The people followed his example. The first performance was a charitable benefit to raise money to free 142 people from prison who could not pay their debts. In the prison of suffering and evil within which the whole world now lives, the same Messiah offers us deliverance.
That deliverance comes in the free gift Christ offers. Let's examine His great salvation we can confidently know we have this morning. Would you follow along as I read it? James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, t ...
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