12th September 2013

Reflections from Handel’s Messiah~
Stirring Hope

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
1 Corinthians 15:19 (NIV)

As the notes of the Hallelujah chorus fade away, I quite often think that it could be a fitting end to Handel’s Messiah – a wonderful celebration of Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings. But instead we hear a poignant reminder of our own individual hope, with a soprano voice singing “I know that my redeemer liveth”. 

The song is taken from the book of Job. Suffering from painful sores all over his body and grieving the death of his children, Job is desolate. Even his friends hardly recognise him (Job 2:12). 

Yet in this state, Job says some of the most stirring words ever spoken: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.” (Job 19:25-27). 

When I hear those words, I feel a deep stirring inside. This is what I wait for. Because Jesus has conquered all, I know there will come a time when my body will get a fresh start. A new body for a new world. 

This is why Handel does not end with the Hallelujah chorus. We need to be reminded that Jesus is not king of a fallen world, where we are still frail and mortal. He is lord of a world that will last forever and ever. No more death, no more pain, no more crying. 

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). The man who wrote that – the Apostle Paul – had seen his fill of pain, crying and death. But he knew that death is defeated and is decaying away. Because of Jesus, death itself is dying. 

We know Jesus has won the victory. He asks us to be patient, because we desire, with every fibre of our being, to inherit the fruits of his triumph. Together with Job, we wait and declare “How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:27) 

Father, we know that our Redeemer – Jesus – lives. He was raised from the dead and lives today. Indeed, he will live forever more. We desire to be with him and inherit this new life. Please stir up our lives with this hope. In Jesus we wait upon the resurrection of all flesh.

Study by Ian Woodley


ianwoodleyAbout the Author:
Ian Woodley pastors the Nottingham Grace Communion Church, that meets at 2pm Saturday, as below.  Ian also facilitates a monthly Bible Study in Lincoln, which generally meets on a Saturday at 1:30pm.  They welcome visitors to join them—for more details contact Ian Woodley as below.

Local Congregation: 
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Woodley
Email:  icgwoodley@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Print This Article


One Response to “12th September 2013”

  1. John Magowan on September 12th, 2013 9:37 am

    Many thanks, Ian, for an encouraging study on the hope of the dead. Interestingly, Handel never wanted to compose a religious oratory, but after taking on the challenge to compose Messiah, he found he couldn’t stop. The inspiration was so intense that he didn’t even want to stop to eat! Thanks again Ian for your encouraging contribution this morning.

Got something to say?