Friday, March 18, 2016

The Messiah: "He was despised" should have been "I am despised"

We finally had our first performance of Handel's Messiah today. It was truly an experience of mixed emotions that I will need to unpack in days to come.

I won't say we did that well but the reviews so far have been surprisingly good. For one, Paul Baker, our conductor,  posted in Facebook saying that, "A good friend who came...runs a company that stages huge arts events globally in tandem with e.g the Olympics, World Cup etc. He's worked with Orchestras such as Simon Bolivar, London Symphony, Vienna and New York Philharmonic and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He stated that [the] night's performance of Messiah was as good as any he's ever seen globally and a lot better than many. He was truly stunned to witness this level in Malaysia. Now that's what I call a seriously worthy testimony not just given out of a new convert's excitement about classical music."

Wow...that is really something. 

What moved me most tonight however was Gabrielle Maes's aria He was Despised. It was so emotionally sung in these words that they pierced my heart as to what an amazing Saviour in Jesus we have. 

He was despised
Despised and rejected 
Rejected my men
A man of sorrows 
And acquainted with grief

When I came home and further reflected on the song, I suddenly realized that I should be the one saying those words - I am despised, I am rejected, I am with so much sorrows, I am the one with grief. How often have I forgotten that and only looked at Jesus as one who died on the cross, period. 

Yes, I know he died for me, but have I really understood the immensity of the cross? Most probably I will never ever understand it fully, academically or emotionally or experientially or spiritually, but this encounter has indeed deepened my understanding of the cross. 

I am despised and rejected. As much as I seem like a good person on the outside, no one has seen me on the inside. I am truly despicable. And yet God has accepted me. He gave his Son to be despised and rejected in my place so I can be whole and complete again to meet the Holy Almighty One. 

And for that I am so grateful. How amazing is his love for us, his mercy and his grace, that Jesus suffered and died in our place so that we are complete in him again. 



  1. I still remember when I prayed my first real prayer. I began to pray bargaining for an answer. As I spoke a presence came over me. I became aware that I was a sinner. I felt dirty on the inside. I changed my prayer and told him I would do what he wanted me to do. I didn't really know it but I was surrendering my heart to Him.

    Since that day I have been able to really love myself. When I pray confessing my sins God reminds me that I am his son. When I am at my worst God assures me in prayer that I am beautiful. Not sure if I can communicate it but knowing God has helped me to know how much I am loved, accepted and cleansed.

    That said, I think that we all struggle at the hands of others who reject and despise us. We all grieve and are sorrowful. In that Jesus is like us and we like him. Yet in the struggle we, like Jesus, have the assurance that God accepts us and loves us.

    And in the case of Christ, it was humans who judged, despised and rejected him. The Father stood beside him in love and acceptance as nails were drove into him. The Father grieved and was sorrowful that his Creation had become so perverse.

    Yet in the end, the acceptance of God trumped the rejection of man. He who was despised was raised and is loved yet today. It is a beautiful message for this season.

  2. Thanks for sharing those wonderful words that speaks so real of the lives we are living. I still struggle with self-acceptance: it oscillates between two opposing poles. Pride and inferiority - which I think is the same thing anyway :)

  3. As we age we understand that our imperfections are a part of what makes us unique. And sometimes we come to accept them.