Easter, George Fideric Handel & Keith Green

So write the music historians, “The oratorios of Handel are choral dramas of overpowering vitality and grandeur. Vast murals, they are conceived in epic style.”

Most popular of Handel’s compositions in modern times is his oratorio, “Messiah”, from which we find “Hallelujah”, better known as “The Hallelujah Chorus.”

“It was 1742, and Handel, working as a man possessed, completed the entire oratorio in an inconceivable twenty-four days. Moreover, Handel’s servant found him just after the completion of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. With tears streaming from his eyes, Handel exclaimed, ‘I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the Great God Himself!”

Handel is now in Paradise. And so is Keith Green, tragically killed in a plane crash in July, 1982. Green, a modern-day musical prophet, is my favorite all-time Christian singer/songwriter. Listen as he sings, “Hear the bells ringing! They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead! Hallelujah!”

It’s Easter. The tomb is empty. And that changes everything.

Hallelujah, nw

Day 2 (of 3) – A Sermon for the Ages

What was Jesus doing between his death & his resurrection?

No one knows for certain. But there is a most curious passage in Peter’s first letter. Here it is:

1 Peter 3:18-22 (NLT) – Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison (cf. 2 Peter 2:4) — …[freedom in Christ] is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

What does “So he went and preached to the spirits in prison” mean? There are varying schools of thought on this passage. Here’s one opinion….

John MacArthur comments on this passage: “Between Christ’s death and resurrection, his living spirit went to the demon spirits bound in the abyss and proclaimed that, in spite of his death, he had triumphed over them.”

If MacArthur’s right, all I can think is: Can you imagine hearing that sermon from Jesus?? It must’ve gone something like this: “You tortured me. You killed me. But, behold – I AM quite ALIVE! I AM the firstborn of all creation! I AM the Lamb who is the Shepherd! I AM the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I AM the resurrection and the life! And you? You are going to regret you ever met Me. You are going to regret you ever hurt my children.” (I’m guessing there was no “invitation” at the end of the service.)

In my mind’s eye, I can see the demons cowering in unspeakable terror as the Lion from the tribe of Judah ROARS!

Listen this day for the roar of the Lion. Can you hear it? He’s roaring, “Remember…you were separate from [Me],…without hope and without God in the world. But now in [Me] you who once were far away have been brought near by [My blood!]” (Eph. 2:12-13)

Soli Deo Gloria (and for Narnia!), nw