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Preparing for Advent

Nov 25, 2017


by: Jon Becker Series: Preparing for Advent | Category: Weekend Teaching Series | Scripture: Isaiah 60:1–60:3

“Messiah,” an oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel in 1741 traces a clear scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens (1700-1773) as a study of the Messiah as revealed through the Old Testament (almost 60% of the “Messiah” is made up of quotes from the Old Testament scriptures).

It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus as Messiah (or Christ).

  • The text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds – the only “scene” taken from the Gospels.
  • In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the “Hallelujah” chorus.
  • In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ's glorification in heaven.

Jennens's framework reveals the Messiah as the Promised One from the entirety of the Bible. 

  1. Rejoice Greatly (Zechariah 9:9-10
  2. A Virgin with Child (Isaiah 7:14
  3. A Child is Born (Isaiah 9:6)
  4. Comfort Ye My People (Isaiah 40:1-5)
  5. Opening the Eyes of the Blind (Isaiah 35:5-6; 40:11)
  6. I Offered my Back (Isaiah 50:6)
  7. Good Tidings (Isaiah 52:7)
  8. Surely, He Hath Borne Our Griefs (Isaiah 53:5-6)
  9. Arise, Shine, for Your Light has Come (Isaiah 60:1-3)