Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Christ in all the Scriptures

For months now I've recurringly had Handel's I know that my Redeemer liveth in my head (the lyrics are Job's and Paul's, but Handel did a good job with the setting). In my opinion the genius of Handel's Messiah is not principally in his gift for setting lyrics to music (listen to how the melody follows the words of 'every valley...'!) but was the skill of Charles Jennens, who compiled the libretto, taking texts from throughout Scripture to form the story (or Biblical Theology) of the Messiah.

Mike Reeves points out in this excellent talk on Psalm 1 [HT: Glen], that the Psalmists and inspired compiler(s) of the book of Psalms got there well before Jennens, however - what a marvellous musical story of the Messiah is the book of Psalms! I've been trying to get my students to see this for years, and delightfully they're getting it as the psalms proclaim to them Christ that they might trust and delight in Him, and proclaim Him to others.

I grew up with the psalms, singing at least 4 each week in church services, and experiencing how they point to Christ by unresolved tension, unfulfilled perfection, and the experience of the Annointed King, I didn't start appreciating how the book works until as a student I read Grogan's Prayer, praise & prophecy: a theology of the Psalms. I don't recall whether I'd now agree with all of it, but highly recommended to get you started.

It reminds me of the children's talk I gave this morning, in which (Luke 24) Jesus finds some disciples scratching their heads for what Jesus' death and reported resurrection mean, and lovingly says something to the effect of, "You ejits, I spent 2000 years telling you in advance what I'd be doing these past 3 days, and had it written in Law, in Psalms, and Prophecy - have you not read it or did you think I was having youse on??" Thankfully in grace he explained it, opened their hearts to understand it, and then (are you wishing you could've been there?) what do you think the NT letters are based on, but those first seminars in Biblical Christology?

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