25 March 2016

Music Day, Part I - The Messiah

I've always liked the lyrical progression of this song; how the title line takes on three different tones.

Also, those of you who are sick of mushy-gushy Christian radio and mega-church worship-band crap will appreciate this one. Bloodgood was one of the lesser-known hair metal bands that rode Stryper's coattails but were much, much better at lyric-writing than their bumblebee-coloured counterparts (admit it -- Stryper could play a mean guitar and they had good harmonies, but as for lyrics... I'll just leave this here). They also had a bit of a theatrical bent -- I remember seeing a video on YouTube of the band performing this song on a full-on theatre set and the band members as characters in the story. It wasn't quite on the level of Alice Cooper's stage show, but the approach seemed similar (not that I'm an expert on Alice Cooper either). I'll see if I can find it again...

Anyway, before this post becomes a who's-who of rockers whose names I know but whose styles I'm rusty on, here's the song:

Title: The Messiah
Artist: Bloodgood
Album: Detonation
Year: 1987
iTunes here, YouTube here.

Also, I totally found the dramatised live version! It's even more awesome than I remembered. Watch it here.

The live video in particular brings out a little more of the political, earth-bound side of Jesus' death. See, at that time in history, the Jews/Israelites/Hebrews were under Roman rule and generally were not thrilled with this state of affairs. Centuries before, the Jewish prophets had told of a messiah, a king, that would come and save them. Now that the Jews had been exiled from Israel (the land promised to them by God), they assumed that this messiah would be a political one -- that he would free the Jews from Roman tyranny and establish himself as king above the Roman rulers.

Jesus, meanwhile, was born and at thirty He began teaching about God and the scriptures and performing miracles. This of course didn't sit very well with the religious leaders, as Jesus fast became more popular than they -- that and Jesus had some harsh criticism for said religious leaders, in addition to claiming to be the son of God. To claim to be the son of God was not only preposterous, it was anti-scriptural and punishable by death. The religious leaders quickly realised He was dangerous to them, but because of His fame among the common people, they didn't dare take action.

As far as the common people were concerned, everything was going great until they realised that this Jesus character didn't appear to be storming down the emperor's gates and liberating the Jews anytime soon. The religious leaders seized on this discontent and stirred the people into an angry frenzy. In a matter of days, Jesus went from widespread public acclaim to being arrested and winding up in front of a mob of angry Jews screaming for His crucifixion.

Here is where the video comes in.

The Jewish authorities didn't have the authority to sentence a person to death, so they sent Jesus to Pilate, of the Roman court (this is the character in the red robe - the singer). The Romans didn't really care about the Jews' religious dispute and Pilate sent Him to Herod -- who was in charge of the area where Jesus was from. Herod mocked Him a bit and then sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate agreed to punish Jesus and release Him, but this didn't satisfy the Jews' bloodlust. After multiple tries to dissuade the Jews from their wish to see Jesus dead, Pilate eventually gave up, washed his hands of the matter (literally) and said the people could do what they wanted with Jesus. So they crucified Him.

The thing was, the messiah was never meant to be a political one. The messiah God sent was supposed to atone for the sins of all the people in the world. This atonement required the blood of a perfectly innocent man, and this is who Jesus was. That crucifixion shed innocent blood, and because Jesus willingly allowed them to crucify Him though He certainly possessed the power to flatten every one of the perpetrators, God saw it as an acceptable sacrifice. And as proof that the sacrifice (that is, Jesus' death) was acceptable and complete, Jesus was raised from the dead and lives even now, at the right hand of God. Now -- even today -- all that is required for this atonement to be yours is to believe that Jesus shed His innocent blood to cover your sins, on your behalf. This is all that is required to save you from the wrath of God against the sinful nature that every human (myself included) is born with.

For a fuller version of the story, read here, here, and here.

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