We were privileged to get to know John and his wife in 1987. They were instrumental in our efforts to adopt our daughter Stefanie who is named after John’s wife. Keep your eye out for him in this video of “It Is Finished” from their Captured In Time And Space video at the end of the post.
* * * * *
—————————*In the heat of the early morning
—————————-On a hill they call the skull
—————————-The roaring of the angry mob
—————————-had settled to a lull.
—————————-All eyes were cast upon the man
—————————-Whose hands and feet were bound.
—————————-They saw Him cry in anguish when
—————————-they heard the hammer pound.
The music was loud. The beat was fast. John’s hands hurried purposefully over the keyboard. Black key. White key. Black. White. Black again. From my second-row seat in the audience I watched my friend in fascination as he worked synthesizer switches and controls to make the instrument do what he wanted. First one sound, then another. His hands shaped and molded the melody, then moved in tune with the message in his heart and brought it to life for us to hear. A message of hope and love. A message of Jesus.
Were you to ask him his occupation, John would probably say musician. But I would call him a physician, for the music created by the touch of his hands brought healing to my wounded spirit, food to my hungry soul.
Day after day he uses his God-given talent to minister to crowds of people. People whose spirits hunger for wholeness, for the bread of life, and a drink of living water. Often times he ministers at much personal expense. Through illness and fatigue, loneliness, and even absence at the arrival of a long-awaited child. Separation from his family is something he’s grown accustomed to as he travels in the states and abroad with a band of other musician-physicians.
And occasionally he comes under attack from the religious leaders of our day. His style of ministry is not like theirs. To them it’s irreverent. They seem to feel that only music that’s pious and solemn can truthfully portray our God.
But despite all this, God uses John’s hands to coax from the keyboard His message of hope for those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand.
That night as I watched him play, my thoughts drifted far away, for I saw mirrored in John’s hands the hands of another Physician. Hands so gentle when holding a small child, yet filled with purpose when healing a blind man, a paralytic, a Samaritan woman with a broken spirit. For He, Himself, was that very message of hope and sacrificial love that John’s music is all about.
Were you to have asked Him His occupation, He might have said servant. Yet His hands, too, brought healing to spirit and soul as He ministered to other crowds of people. Crowds who, like me, were hungering for wholeness.
He had His price to pay as well, as He traveled the countryside with His band of followers. He knew what it was to suffer through fatigue. To lay so exhausted in the bottom of a boat that even a raging storm couldn’t wake Him. He knew what it was like to be attacked by the religious leaders of His day. His ministry style wasn’t the norm either. They wanted piety and solemnity, strict adherence to rules and regulations.
And He knew what it was to feel loneliness and separation. Especially in a Garden called Gethsemane where His closest friends deserted Him in the hour of His greatest need.
Yet again, in spite of it all, God used this Physician’s hands to bring that same message of hope to the hearts and souls of everyone who felt His tender touch.
But this Physician’s hands did something more. Something no other hands could ever do. They were tied behind His back as He stood condemned to death because of the very gift of healing they brought. They were fastened to a post as He was beaten and scourged. Then, weak from the abuse, they were made to carry a splintered wooden cross up a hill called Golgotha. There, finally, horribly, they were heartlessly nailed to a cross where they brought healing of a different kind. Forgiveness.
On that cross, hands spread wide in painful benediction, He once and for all took on Himself the penalty and payment for the brokenness of the whole world so that other hands, like John’s, having been lifted up to Him in surrender, can bring His message of hope to a world full of hurting people. People who desperately need to know the touch of that very same Great Physician, Jesus of Nazareth.
—————————–They searched His face for anger,
—————————–for vengeance in His stare.
—————————–Instead of eyes that burned with hate
—————————–a look of love was there.
—————————–He prayed for their forgiveness
—————————–and bowed His battered head.
—————————–and no one knew the meaning of the
—————————–final words He said:
—————————–It is finished!*
*“It Is Finished,” words and music by Bob Hartman