As of tonight I'm going to be rehearsing for Messiah with Redeemer Alumni Concert Choir. I'm beyond excited to sing this amazing work of music and words again. The following is the Scripture from which the Messiah is taken. It's amazingly powerful (which I guess we should expect considering it's the Word of God). :)
Piercing Light in the Darkness
“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for. In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.
The Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
Good News: The King is Born
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation. He will proclaim peace to the nations. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The Shepherd Becomes the Lamb
John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out by beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’ Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?”
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
“You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
The Lord, the True King of Kings
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty – he is the King of glory.
For to which of the angels did God every say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? No, when God brings his first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious – that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. The Lord gave the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their bonds asunder,” they say, “and cast away their yolks from us.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.” The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
In a loud voice we all sing: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
Finally, I hear every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sets on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”