Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is considered one of the greatest composers of all time. Together with Beethoven and Brahms, Bach forms part of the big “Three B’s” of classical music. Christians still sing his hymns. Choirs still perform his cantatas. Orchestras still play his concertos.
Bach was a deeply spiritual man. He composed the majority of his music to be performed in church. His goal was to praise God and proclaim his love to the world.
Overwhelmed by the import of his work, Bach would often scribble two mysterious letters at the top of each score of music he composed: J.J.
Short for the Latin Jesu Juva it simply means “Jesus, help.” For all his talent and ability, Bach realized that without the help of his God and Savior, he could accomplish nothing.
Jesu Juva. Jesus, help. What a wonderful reminder for us as we begin each task of our daily lives. Without our Savior’s help, we can do nothing. Without his help, it would all come to ruin. Because of our sinfulness – because of our selfishness and pride – we mess everything up.
Only with God’s help (and the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross) are we able to do anything of value in God’s eyes. With his help, though, we like Bach, can create great works of art.
Sure, you may never compose a famous symphony or hymn, but a child raised in God’s Word is music to his ears. A life lived in humble service to God is a work of art. Your opus to God may be your faithful love to your wife or your diligence at your job. It may simply be your off key singing of his hymns at church. With Jesus’ help, Jesu Juva, such simple songs of praise are wondrous symphonies to God’s ears.
Every time J.S. Bach finished one of his masterpieces, he scratched three more letters at the end of his manuscript: S.D.G. Short for Soli Deo Gloria, it means “To God alone be the glory.” Bach understood that everything he accomplished in his life wasn’t because of him. It was God working through him. Bach composed his music to thank God for his love and forgiveness. God gets all the credit.
It is in that spirit I now undertake this blog. My prayer is that God work through its message to encourage and strengthen you. I also pray that he help me keep the focus on him and not on me. So, I now humbly pray, “Jesus, help!”