The following article was published on Day By Day on 14th April by Ian Woodley, a member of Nottingham Grace Communion:
“I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
John 1:34 (NIV 2011)
The first time I heard Handel’s Messiah all the way through, I remember my spirit rising as I listened to the great choruses and wonderful solos. Then something happened that made my spine tingle. The slow but very beautiful sound of “Behold the Lamb of God” filled my ears.
It was almost as if time had stopped. I felt like one of John the Baptist’s disciples looking across to this person that John was staring at. “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The true nature of messiahship is laid bare. Humanity likes its heroes to be in the Hollywood tradition who dive in “all guns blazing”. History has had its fill of such ‘messiahs’, but none of them have solved the true distress of our condition. We are broken, unable to heal ourselves of the greed, warring and lust that cause so much damage.
No, Jesus was not going to solve the world’s problems through violence. If force could provide the answer then we would have achieved utopia by now. Instead, Jesus would take the path of sacrifice in order to heal our souls.
A few years after John’s declaration, Jesus affirmed that he was the Messiah—and yes, it would require the greatest sacrifice. “‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die” (John 12:32-33).
So, as Handel invites us, we should let our minds dwell on the Lamb of God. We should follow the gaze of John the Baptist and pause on the sacrifice God made to bring us back home. What an incredible God he is. What a wonderful God he is!
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