Messiah Our Healer and Shepherd
A Passover Message – Messiah Our Healer
In 1740 the Messiah oratorio was first performed. It was a tribute to the Passover season and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was in keeping with the traditions of primitive Christianity and the observances of the first century Jerusalem church. So Jennens, the Messiah’s lyricist, hearkened back to the prophecy of the Messiah in the book of Isaiah. This passage, often subtitled the “suffering servant,” foretold a message of Christ’s first coming as the Messiah our healer. Isaiah wrote, “With his [Messiah’s] stripes we are healed.” The disciples of Christ’s day witnessed Jesus’ beating and scourging at the hands of Jews and Romans. They could understand these events and the crucifixion of Christ in light of Isaiah’s powerful prophecy.
Healed by His Stripes
David in the Psalms, and later the apostles Peter and James, also wrote of the power of the Messiah our healer. His suffering would provide healing to those who called out to him in faith. But this healing was more than opening the eyes of the blind or the ears of the deaf. It was also spiritual healing. The forgiveness of sin, obtained as a result of the Messiah’s supreme sacrifice in our stead. And, it was the hope of national salvation and healing of the covenant people. The Messiah was the “Balm in Gilead” who would bring the promised restoration of Israel that had been prophesied by Jeremiah. The Messiah’s suffering embodied all of these aspects of healing — physical, spiritual, and national.
Messiah the True Shepherd
God’s people over the centuries could chorus, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Yet the good Shepherd was always there to gather them. He would find and rescue those who had wandered into harms way. And heal the bruised and battered. As the Psalmist wrote of the Lord his Shepherd, “You restore my soul.” But that was not the end of the story. Having been restored it was now the duty and the blessing of believers to recognize the Great Shepherd’s voice, and follow in the teachings of the Messiah our healer. Do you know what they are?
Learn more about the Good Shepherd:
Shepherds and Sheep