Good Friday April 18

Scriptures for today

  • Isaiah 52:13-53:12
  • Psalm 22
  • John 18:1-19; 42

Photo of poppies

Reflection on Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Titles from Handel’s Messiah Part 2

22. Behold the Lamb of God
23. “He was despised and rejected by men”
24. Surely he hath borne our griefs
25. And with his stripes we are healed
26. “All we like sheep have gone astray”
27. All they that see him laugh him to scorn
28. He trusted in God
29. Thy rebuke hath broken his heart
30. Behold and see if there be any sorrow
31. He was cut off out of the land of the living

The words of each of these songs from Part 2 of Handel’s Messiah are based on quotes and ideas from this section of Isaiah and are attributed in the music to Jesus as the victim of all these insults by mankind in general.

I don’t know who Isaiah was speaking of. I don’t know whether some of the gospels came from Isaiah or whether Isaiah truly prophesied this to happen to God’s Son in the future, but I know many people who have only heard these words in the Messiah must believe this is the New Testament story of Good Friday.

When I was reading this for my reflection for Good Friday I heard the songs in my head as I read the words in Isaiah. It struck me as astounding how much religious music and hymns affect people’s understanding.

As we have been studying various parts of the Bible here at Knox I have been surprised several times to come across whole fragments of the words to songs we sing in hymns or hear in religious classic music. I have usually, as in this case, been surprised by where the words are in the Bible and how they didn’t always have the same context or meanings in the Bible passage as we assume they mean in the music. Something to think about.   ♥

by Jean Reid

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