“… ‘Behold! The Lamb of God …’”
— John 1:29
Johann Sebastian Bach is considered the father of classical music and, in the opinion of many, the greatest musician ever to have lived. But he not only wrote and played music excellently, he also sought to glorify God in all he did. For three centuries now, Bach’s music has taken people beyond themselves and toward God.
In addition to composing music, Bach also fulfilled countless other obligations. He raised a large family. He taught music on a regular basis. He served as a church musician as well as conductor for the church choir and orchestra. He also fulfilled an obligation to compose new music for every Sunday. He regarded himself as a conscientious craftsman doing a job to the best of his ability for his supervisor’s satisfaction, for others’ pleasure and edification, and above all, for God’s glory.
Many historians have noted that all over his manuscripts Bach wrote notations such as “S.D.G.”(Soli Deo Gloria), meaning “Solely to the glory of God” or “I.N.J.”(In Nomine Jesu), meaning “In the name of Jesus.” Throughout his great masterpieces appear these words from Scripture: “Behold! The Lamb of God” (John 1:29). In his music, Bach honored the Lamb of God who had taken away his sin and had given him the peace and joy that pervaded his life … the Lamb of God to whom he ascribed all glory and to whom he appealed every day. According to Bach, music was worship, and he told his music pupils that unless they committed their talents to the Lord Jesus Christ they’d never become great musicians.
J. S. Bach did not live for fame or fortune. He lived for God’s glory. That focus pervaded his life. We, too, should have this goal as our singular focus.