Who is Jesus?
“But who do you say that I am?” – Mark 8:31-38
In his masterwork, “Messiah,” George Frideric Handel pulled out all the stops with his “Hallelujah Chorus.” From its first “Hallelujah” to its last, the piece uses trumpets, timpani, every other instrument in the orchestra, and every voice in the chorus to proclaim the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
By its end, Handel left no doubt that the Messiah “shall reign forever—and ever, forever and ever!”
But then the composer did something totally unexpected. His “Messiah” doesn’t end with that triumphant chorus. Instead the choir sits, the timpani are silent. Finally the soprano soloist stands up. Accompanied only by the strings, she sings the aria, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
No trumpets or kettle drums. Not even another voice. Just the lone soprano proclaiming the faith. “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks his disciples. Bottom line, that’s the only thing that matters. Not what others think, believe, or say—but what you think, believe, and say about this Jesus.
It’s one thing to proclaim “Lord of Lords and King of Kings” when you’re surrounded by everyone singing a hundred “Hallelujahs.” But when the music stops, the choir closes their books, and we’re left standing alone, what do we sing?
“I know that my Redeemer liveth,” Handel affirmed. Who do you say that he is?
Even when we haven’t heard Hallelujahs for a long time and ours is the only voice singing, give us still the courage to proclaim our faith in you, O Lord.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.