Scholars refer to the Book of Psalms as “Humanity’s Hymnbook.” There are many messianic psalms predicting certain events in the life of our Lord. Someone quipped that the Bible is actually a “Him book,” because from Genesis to Revelation it is all about Him, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev. Herbert Lockyer Jr., wrote a book titled All the Music of the Bible: An Exploration of Musical Expression in Scripture and Church Hymnody dedicated to his father Dr. Herbert W. Lockyer Sr. From the preface, Dr. Herbert Lockyer Sr., writes, “The Bible abounds in praise and reverberates with the music of heaven. Glance over its sacred pages, and you will find that its psalms outweigh its sighs…No matter where you turn in the Bible, melody predominates over misery and songs over sobs.”

Dr. Samuel Dickey Gordon (1859-1936) shares the following in Quiet Talks About Jesus, “A great musician strikes the keynote of a great piece of music, and can skillfully keep it ever sounding its melody through all the changes clear to the end. It has been in my heart to wish that I could do something like that here. If what has come to me has gotten out of me into these pages, there will be found a dominant note of sweetest music—the winsomeness of God in Jesus.”

Dr. Gordon continues, “The voice of Jesus must have been music itself. It speaks once of His singing a hymn. How we would have loved to hear Him sing! But that voice was music at all times, whether in song or speech. Low, modulated, rhythmic, gentle, rich, resonant—wondrous music. Those who have heard Spurgeon and Gladstone almost always speak of the rare musical quality of their voices. So, and more would it be with this Jesus. It has been said that the personality reveals itself in the speech. It reveals itself yet more, and more subtly, in the sound of the voice. The power or weakness of a man is felt in the sound of his voice. The blind have unusual skill in reading character in the voice. Were we wiser we could read men’s character much more quickly in the voice. Children and animals do. The voice that stilled the waves and spoke forgiveness of sins, that drew the babes, and talked out to thousands at once, must have been full of sweetest music and thrilling with richest power.”

George Frederic Handel arrived in London around 1710. He appealed to the masses and his musical accomplishment gained the attention of royalty and nobility of England. Regrettably, he developed an arrogant attitude. His enemies conspired to bring him down. He suffered affliction financially and physically. No doubt his bankruptcy precipitated a severe stroke on April 13, 1737. After some time he began to feel alleviation from his suffering and sensed a resurrection to life again.

Charles Jennens, a noted liberettist, gave Handel a daunting assignment to compose an oratorio using the liberetto he sent. Lexicographers explain that an oratorio is “a musical composition on a religious theme; similar to opera but with no costume, scenery or acting.”

Handel began to write on August 22, 1741. He continued almost non-stop for 24 days. With The Messiah written, Handel went to bed and slept for 11 hours. On the fifth anniversary of his stroke, Handel played The Messiah in Dublin and for the final time with great difficulty in 1759. Interestingly, George Fredric Handel died on the 22nd anniversary of his stoke.

From our text we read, “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He'” (Mark 4:25-26). Don’t miss the Messiah!

The oratorio, known as The Messiah, continues to bless countless believers around the world. Using the terminology of a three-part oratorio, we will note several aspects from the life of Jesus Christ.

Prelude: His life before birth (John 1:1-14)
Remember there was music before the Creation. Jesus was present in Creation (Colossians 1:15-18; John 1:1-14). Notice the plural name for God in Genesis 1:1. Jesus existed before the world began. He is the great I AM (John 8:5) also referenced in Exodus 3:1-15. We say “eternity past” because we speak from the perspective of time, matter and space.

A. His Ascendancy
Ascendancy means “the quality, fact or state of being in the ascendant; domination; sway.” Lucifer, the son of the morning, challenged the ascendancy of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 14:12-15. Luke writes that Jesus saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven (Luke 10:18). John reveals in Revelation that one third of the angels fell with Lucifer (Revelation 9:1; Revelation 12:3-9). Lucifer led a rebellion against God in heaven. Ezekiel reveals that God created Lucifer with great musical ability (Ezekiel 28:11-15).

Is it any wonder that rebellious lyrics are set to music? The original purpose of music was to glorify God, not man.

B. His Appearances (Pre-Incarnate)
(Genesis 1:1-26) where God’s name is Elohim, which is plural (yet at the same time is singular), and where in Genesis 1:26 God refers to himself in the plural. A Theophany or Christophany is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. We find two of these in Genesis 18:3-13; and Genesis 28:24-30.

Joshua had a visit from our Lord Jesus Christ as we read in Joshua 5:13-15. Please note this visitor did not stop Joshua from worshipping Him as any other servant of the Lord would do (see Acts 10:26; John 14:15; Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9) where servants of God stopped other men from worshipping them.

Part One: His Birth (Luke 2:6-11) (in a Borrowed Feed Trough)
Dr. Luke recounts the truth of the Christ and His crib. Joseph, His adopted earthly father, and Mary, his earthly mother, procured His crib. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the City of David. Here we see His poverty. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.”

Angels offered declared, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). Jesus Christ is unique in that He had an earthly mother and a heavenly Father. Joseph was not his biological father. Remember in the Temple as a lad of 12 years of age, Jesus said, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).

Paul reminds us in Galatians 4:4 that Jesus was “born of a woman born under the law.” Moses provides the prophetic designation for Jesus as “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15).  It is important to note that Jesus’ humanity came from Mary not from Joseph.

Part Two: His Baptism (Luke 3:21) (by John the Baptist in the Jordan River)
From this passage we discover the Christ and His credentials. Jesus’ heavenly Father proclaimed His credentials. Here we see His identity.

Again heaven sang His praises as God the Father said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Him at this time.

A. Jesus’ Identification with Mankind
Paul writes, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17). In addition Paul writes, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). He writes in Philippians 2:5-11, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

From His baptism we see Jesus identified with sinful humanity that we might be partakers of His righteousness after His vicarious death and victorious resurrection.

B. Jesus’ Inauguration into Ministry
The Father announced from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The Father also spoke audibly at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).

Part Three: His Burial (Matthew 27:57-65) (in a Borrowed Tomb)
This passage reveals the Christ and His Crypt. A follower, named Joseph of Arimathaea, provided His crypt. Here we see His victory. They buried Jesus in Jerusalem, the city of the great king (Psalms 48:2; Matthew 5:35).

Angels declared, “He is not here, He is risen as He said” (Matthew 28:6).
In the “Forbidden Chapter,” Isaiah writes the following about Jesus, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed…He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:5-9).

Jesus was supposed to be buried with criminals but was buried with the rich. They buried Jesus in the tomb of a rich man of Arimathaea named Joseph.

Matthew records, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here'” (Matthew 12:38-41).

John records, “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced'” (John 19:31-37).

Moses records in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.”

Using a musical motif related to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, I guess you could say it was the day the music died. However, this funeral dirge turned to a song of joy.

Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the gospel.

Postlude: His Life After Burial
A. His Appearances (Post-Resurrection)
Jesus appeared in the upper room, etc. He appeared to about 500 people at one time, as Paul records in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

B. His Ascension
Dr. Luke chronicles in Acts 1:1-3, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Here we read about Jesus’ return to heaven and we are told of his return to earth.

Dr. Luke records in Acts 6:55 that when Stephen was stoned Jesus was standing. We read further about Jesus in Revelation 5:8-14. John explains, “they sang a new song” (Revelation 5:9).

In the gospel that bears his name, John reminds us that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22). Jesus will return to judge the earth.

Paul reminds us that one day every knee will bow before Jesus in Philippians 2:10-11. We will either stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11) for reward in heaven; or we will stand before Him at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15) for retribution in hell.

Jesus teaches the fear of God, as Dr. Luke records, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).

Dr. Jerry Vines shares in his book titled SpiritLife about tuning his radio and hearing country music singer Ronnie Milsap singing one of his best-selling singles, “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life.” A long time ago I heard Ronnie Milsap sing, “It Was Almost Like a Song.” In this song, Milsap tells the story of someone with a broken heart after losing a love interest. Those who resist and reject the overtures of the Holy Spirit will sing a sad song for all eternity.

There are many who welcome a baby in the manger at Christmastime. Of that number few truly repent of sin and trust Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection alone for their salvation.

Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead (1893-1976) cites Martin Luther (1483-1546), who said, “The heart of religion is in its personal pronoun.” Dr. Weatherhead comments: “I once attended in the Royal Albert Hall, London, a magnificent rendering of Handel’s Messiah by a choir of several hundreds. The friend who accompanied me was a dear saint of God, then in his 70s. When the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ rose to its stupendous heights, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords,’ my friend could hardly contain himself. The tears were streaming from his clear blue eyes and he whispered to me, ‘That was my Savior they were singing about.’ I shall never forget the meaning he put into that word ‘my.'”

Jack Countryman writes, “May our lips today bear a convincing, convicting and converting testimony of the saving grace of the living Christ. May this Christmas bring to light the coming of the Messiah to show each of us the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. May we share with Him life eternal and experience through His love, the joy and peace that comes with knowing Christ as our personal Savior.”

Don’t miss the Messiah!

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