Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 2: Let Us Sing of Greater Things - Preface and Movement 1

"The Subject excels 
every other Subject. 
The Subject is Messiah . . ."
Charles Jennens 


(Virgil, Eclogue IV)

And without controversy, 
great is the mystery of godliness: 
God was manifested in the flesh, 
justified by the Spirit, 
seen of angels, 
preached among the Gentiles, 
believed on in the world, 
received up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16)

In whom are hid all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
(Colossians 2:3)

Majora Canamus

Jennens prefaces Messiah with a motto from Eclogue IV (poem in a classical style on a pastoral subject) by Virgil (70 B.C. - 19 B.C.). The English translation of majora canamus is . . .

"Let us sing of greater things." 

Truly, the greatest thing to sing about is the redemption of mankind through the Messiah ("Anointed One")! 

It is interesting to note that Virgil's Eclogue IV imagines: 

. . . a golden age ushered in by the birth of a boy heralded as 'great increase of Jove' . . . Some scholars have also remarked similarities between the eclogue's prophetic themes and the words of Isaiah 11:6: "a little child shall lead."("Eclogues" Wikipedia)


1 Timothy 3:16

Paul has just finished telling his spiritual son in the faith, Timothy, that the church is the "household of the living God" and the "pillar and support of the truth" (3:15; Ephesians 2:20-22). We have a "common confession" that comprises the basic tenets of our faith.  These tenets are the pillars of the church that is built on Jesus Christ.  Many commentators believe this verse is quoted from a hymn sung in the early church. 

The truth about godliness was a mystery but was revealed in Jesus Christ when He . . .  
Came in the flesh 
Jesus was our Immanuel which means "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23; John 14:1-9). He is both God and man. He took on the limitations of humanity so He could live and die for all who would believe in Him. Messiah movements 2-33 cover from His birth to His ascension. Jesus is even "with us" now to lead us into a life of abiding in Him. 
and was . . . 
Vindicated by the Spirit  
The Greek word for vindicated means "to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous."  The Spirit worked through Jesus to perform many miracles in His life and His resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:24-36, Romans 1:4, 8:11). This proved His righteousness.  
Exalted in heaven by angels  
Angels announced His coming (Luke 2:13), but they also announced His resurrection (Luke 24:4-6). Hebrews 1:4-14 asserts that Christ is superior to the angels, and they worship Him.   Angels were present from His birth to His assumption into heaven and mentioned several times in Messiah
Preached among the nations  
God's intention has always been that the nations (Gentiles, peoples) would be blessed through Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3). Jesus commissioned the church to do this until His return (Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 24:14). 
Believed in the world  
This is the result of these truths being preached among the nations, and it is still happening (1 Cor. 1:18-2:5)! 
Taken up in glory 
He ascended (Acts 1:2, 22, Ephesians 4:10), is preparing a place for all who believe (John 14:2), and will come again and take His church to that glory (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
Paul wanted to make sure Timothy, and his congregation at Ephesus understood these basics, and Handel and Jennens wanted us to understand them also!

Colossians 2:3

The false teachers at Colossae were teaching that simply believing in Jesus was not enough and that there was "special wisdom and knowledge" for an elite few. 

Paul wanted the believers then and now to understand that Christ is "all" (a key word in the book) we need. He is enough and that all the fullness of God dwells in Him. Believers can move forward with that. 

We are already complete (full) in Christ and rooted in Him (the verb tense means "once for all" rooted). Therefore, we are not to be tumbleweeds!  We were dead, but now we are alive (2:13-14; Ephesians 2:1-10). Our sins have been nailed to the cross, and we are forgiven. 

He warned believers then and now not to be taken captive by false doctrine. We are not to submit ourselves to rules and regulations that Christ never gave us to follow. We are to look to him as our Head. 

Fullness, forgiveness, and freedom are available in Christ. He is all we need. Hallelujah!

PART ONE: The Coming of the Messiah in Overture and Five Scenes

(Note: Each number represents a "movement" or song)

1. Sinfonia 

Scene 1 (2-4) - Prophecy of Comforting Salvation 
Scene 2 (5-7) - Prophecy of the Lord's Coming from a Terrifying Point of View  
Scene 3 (8-12) - Prophecy of the Virgin Birth of the Messiah 
Scene 4 (13-17) - Angels' Announcement to Shepherds of Christ's Birth 
Scene 5 (18-21) - Prophecy of the Messiah's Deeds on Earth and Man's Response


Listen to the beautiful symphonic introduction to Messiah HERE

"When Biblical truth is joined with music that reaches the soul,
then the human spirit soars." 

Joseph E. McCabe
Handel’s Messiah: A Devotional Commentary, p. 12

Lord Jesus, may our spirits soar to You as we begin this exciting journey! 

1. Sinfonia

It is a symphony set for oboes and strings in the style of a French overture (slow first part and fugue [each instrument "voice" chases the previous one] part). 

The first part has a long note followed by a short note (or groups of notes). It is "stately" and solemn and reminds me of royalty: the king of Kings is coming!

The second part is fast and more like a lively dance! Like the joyful exultation we will have when our king of King comes in all His glory at the Second Coming. 

At the end, the symphony returns to the stately pace to set the tone for the prophecies to come in Scene 1!


Realizing that I have an international audience, some of you may have a concept of the "pomp" involved with having a king or queen. As an American, I do not have a frame of reference. The closest I have come to it is watching shows about the Queen of England on PBS and the royal weddings! There is something very thrilling about it, and this music captures the glory of the King of ALL kings bursting on the scene of history to change our lives.  Try to let that sink deeply into your soul this morning. 


  • What is your personal and specific "I will" statement from your meditation?
  • Who will hold you accountable in your follow through? (If you write yours in the comment section, I will do that!)
  • Who will you tell what you learned today?
Here is my "I will":

I will listen to the music again and imagine that the King of kings is arriving at my door in order to dine with me (Revelations 3:20). I will welcome Him with reverence and joy this Advent season.  

I will tell you how it went tomorrow!
Post a Comment