Heaven's Musical Messenger for Good Friday
"He [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities [sins]: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD [God] laid on him the iniquity [sins] of us all."1
Seventeen-forty-one was a very depressing year for George Frederick Handel. His latest opera failed. His Italian opera company in London was disbanded. That same year Queen Caroline passed away and the commissions Handel had received for composing music for royal occasions all but dried up. A stroke experienced several years prior not only affected him physically, but affected his music. It seemed as if he had lost the genius that made his music so popular.
Late that year, Charles Jennens, a poet known by few, sent Handel a manuscript with a request that Handel set it to music. When Handel read the copy, the words gripped him. Suddenly he came alive. Immediately, he began to put the words to music. He labored all through that night and much of the following day. In fact, he worked day and night for 22 more days, barely stopping to eat or sleep.
When his composition was finished he sensed that it would be a true masterpiece. His "Messiah" was performed the following year and was an immediate success.
The words that Jennens wrote that inspired Handel and lifted him out of the pit of despair were about the Savior: "He was despised and rejected of men. He looked for someone to have pity on him, but there was no man. He trusted in God. God did not leave his soul in hell. I know that my Redeemer lives. Rejoice. Hallelujah!"
On this day 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on a torturous Roman cross to pay the penalty for our sins. But thank God on Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the grave, triumphant over death, giving all who accept him (Jesus) as their Savior the same assurance that Job of old had when he said:
"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold . . . ."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus, how can I ever thank you enough for dying on the cross in my place so all my sins could be forgiven and I could be given the gift of eternal life. Indeed, you are the Christ, Son of the Living God, the Great Creator of the entire universe—and I claim you as my Lord, my God, and my Savior. In appreciation for your dying for me, help me to live for you. Always and forever. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."
Note: If you have never received God's forgiveness and his gift of eternal life, please read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.
1. Isaiah 53:5-6 (NIV).
2. Job 19:25-27 (NKJV).