The Price

The story of the crucifixion of Christ is central to Christianity. Jesus was much more than a “wise teacher”, or perfect example of a “holy life”. The fall of Adam was huge. It was not just a silly story involving an apple; it was the pivotal event on which hinged the entire future and destiny of our world.

Veil of Veronica by FettiRewind to the beginning: God created this planet in perfection, populated it with plants and animals, and the pinnacle of His creation was Man. Of all creation on the planet, only Adam and Eve had the ability to resaon and think. And God gave them not only the ability to think for themselves, but also to choose whether or not to obey their Creator. God did not want to have unthinking animals who would cuddle up on His lap and purr like cats, or who would just follow Him everywhere like dogs, but beings with whom He could have fellowship (visit with, talk and interact with, and enjoy life together). He gave them ownership and responsibility to manage His creation. And, as it says in the account of creation documented in Genesis, “it was good”.

With the decision to listen to the fallen angel, Lucifer, Adam chose to disobey God’s command, and ate fruit from that tree, as did his wife, Eve. As I mentioned in this post, the consequences of this disobedience reverberated throughout the whole of creation. Romans 8:21 describes creation as being in “bondage to decay” – it was taken from what it was designed to be (perfect), and was changed to the world as we all know it.

It seems like such a little thing, one simple act of disobedience, and it radically changes the entire world. To fix this required not a simple solution; restoration of perfection required a perfect sacrifice. So God Himself took the form of a man, entered the world as a baby just like any other person, and lived a perfect life. He was then able to become the perfect sacrifice to make it possible to restore my relationship with God.

And that brings us back to the person of Jesus and what He had to do. The huge error of Adam required a huge price to pay to bring things back into order. And like most stories, it has details beyond the actual events. The trial and conviction of Jesus that resulted in a sentence of death by crucifixion was not isolated; there were two other criminals whose sentence was carried out on that fateful Friday. The Don Francisco song that I am featuring today, Too Small A Price, from his 1979 album Got To Tell Somebody, tells the story from the point of view of one of the two condemned men. Listen to the audio Bible reading from Luke 23:33-43, and then the story in song.

[As an aside: The song Too Small A Pricewas the last song on that 1979 album. When Francisco released his next album, The Traveler, two years later, it started with the same guitar solo that concluded Too Small A Price, implying a continuation of the song. I have here combined the two together to play them together. The second song, Joy, continues the story of the repentant thief crucified with Jesus, after his death. The song talks about Abraham, and a chasm; this is taken from the story of the rich man and Lazarus as told in Luke 16:19-31. Before Jesus’ redemption on the cross, the holy ones who died went to “Abraham’s bosom”, where they awaited final judgement; others went to torment in hell, and the chasm separated the two places.]

I awoke to hear the jailer turn the key and push the door
“Get out here!” he shouted, but I stayed there on the floor
Frozen in the terror that rose and filled my brain
For I knew what they intended; I could not face the pain

Then soldiers came into the cell and they dragged me to the yard
They threw me down before a cross and brought the whip down hard
“Carry it!” they shouted as I struggled to my feet
I put my shoulder under it, dragged it to the street

I stumbled through a wall of screams as they drove me through the gate
It seemed that thousands lined the streets, their voices filled with hate
Like a wolf pack in the night that moves in for the kill
They closed the gap and followed us as we started up the hill

And it seemed I’d barely reached the top when they grabbed me from behind
They threw the cross down under me and tied the ropes that bind
The arms close to the beams, as they nailed the feet and hands
Then they raised the cross up in the air and dropped it in it’s stand

Through a blur of pain I saw the cross there next to mine
There were people all around it so I looked to read the sign
It was nailed there up above His head so the world could see the news
That the man who seemed so helpless there was the King of all the Jews

Well, the crowd that stood around His cross made jokes about His name
They shouted, laughed and spat on Him, so I joined in the game.
Then I said, “Hey! if you’re the King, why don’t You get us down from here?
The taunt just sounded hollow, and it echoed in my ears

‘Cause He looked at me with eyes that seemed to reach into my heart
They shone a light on all my lies and tore my life apart
There was more that lay behind His gaze than simply blood and clay
But knowing was too much for me; I had to look away

Then I chanced another look at Him as He was looking down
Where the soldiers who’d just crucified us drank there on the ground
And although He spoke them quietly, somehow His words came through
He said, “Father, please forgive them; they don’t know what they do.”

Then as if they’d heard Him speaking, the crowd began to roar
Whipped to frenzy by the priests who urged them on to more
But the worse the accusations, now, the plainer I could see
The guilt of the accusers — not the One there next to me

Then the man upon the other cross began to curse and swear
And his voice was filled with venom as he hurled it through the air
And all the horror that was in him, and had laid his life to waste
Came out in every syllable he flung in Jesus’ face

And Jesus only looked at him, but something rose inside of me
And in spite of all that watched us there, it couldn’t be denied
Because His righteousness and innocence were shining bright and strong
I just couldn’t keep my silence, and that cursing still went on

And I cried out, “Don’t you fear the wrath of God, even at the end?
You’ll curse us both into the pit — is that what you intend?
We’re only getting what we’re due — we’ve sinned our whole lives long
But don’t you talk to Him that way — He’s done nothing wrong!”

Then with all my courage, in a voice not quite my own
I asked Him, “Lord, remember me when you come into your throne.”
He answered me and even then, His love was undisguised
He said, “Before the sun has set today, you’ll be with Me in Paradise.”

Well the shouts and curses did not stop even when the sunlight ceased
But somehow in the midst of it my soul had been released
And though the agony continued, it was still too small a price
To be allowed to hear those words, and to die
Beside the Christ!


Then darkness changed to dawning
I heard the sound of voices
The air was warm around me
I stood beside a stream

And Abraham was speaking
To the multitude before him
Of the unfolding of the answer
To our prayers and hopes and dreams

Then far across the chasm,
Came a rumbling like the thunder
And the Prince of Peace came shining
From his mouth the power streamed!

And the walls and towers crumbled
And the gates of hell went under
As thousands sang the victory
“We have been redeemed!”

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

Jesus is the Lord of all!

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Got To Tell Somebody, Don Francisco, 1979
The Traveler, Don Francisco, 1981


Today’s post is another story song by Don Francisco, this time taken from John 9:1-38.

Photo credit-Brian Jekel

In this long passage, Francisco again tells one of the Gospel stories from the point of view of the person who received a healing through the hands of Jesus. The man, blind from birth, does not go out of his way to find Jesus to seek a healing. He apparently had not even heard about Jesus and the miraculous things He had been doing around the country since the start of His ministry. In fact, from the text of the story in the Gospel of John, the healing was associated with Jesus teaching His disciples something about why disease was in the world.

The problem of death and disease in the world – now that is a concept large enough to write an entire book on the subject. In fact, that is exactly what has been done many times, by theologians and atheists alike. There are many questions associated with this problem, and it can be hard to get an answer acceptable to people. The explanation that I offer if this question is posed to me (“How can a good God allow disease and death in the world?”) is that the world as it was originally created was good and free of those problems. But with the fall of Adam in committing the first sin, his control of the world passed to Satan, the deceiver. The consequences of that sin were disease, death, and decay. People also became blind, so to speak, to the spiritual world around them. Direct connection with the Creator was broken, and we were left stumbling around, looking for our Father and a reason for our lives. And yes, we became subject to injury, diseases, and eventually death. None of these were ever intended to be our destiny.

And though we have forgiveness of our sins, and a restoration of fellowship with our Father God through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, our physical bodies still live in this fallen world, and are still subject to the consequences of Adam’s sin. Sometimes, as in Jesus explanation of the blind man’s situation, a disease or infirmity may be present in order for the glory of God to be show through a miraculous healing. Sometimes the glory of God is shown in the way in which that person lives with their problem. But in all situations, God’s goodness and glory can be found, if we just look for it.

I have never yet been in a situation where I have had to personally deal with a serious illness or injury. And, being human, I don’t very much want to have to experience such a thing. But I have set my mind to be prepared to be an example of faith, hope, and love to those around me should such a situation ever arise. And my desire would be not that others would say about me, “Oh, what a nice guy! What a strong character!”, but rather, “Look what God has done for him!” And whether I received a healing or did not, I would want to follow the example of the blind man in this story, and fall at Jesus’ feet and worship Him, not for what I want or hope He would do for me, but for who He is.

Enough of my words. From Don Francisco’s 1981 album The Traveler, here is the song Since I Met Him.

Now it’s hard to describe what my life use to be
To someone who’s always been able to see.
You know I wasn’t unhappy or bitter that way,
But everything’s changed since I met Him that day.

I was down by the corner, just passin’ the time,
Sitting in sunlight and feelin’ it shine,
When the sounds of a crowd began to grow in my ear,
So I waited and listened as I heard them draw near.

Then a man stepped up to me and He spat on the ground,
Put the mud on my eyes and then smeared it around,
Sent me off to Siloam to wash off the clay,
And I opened my eyes and I looked at the day!

And I have no idea how He did it;
I just know what happened to me.
Yesterday I was in darkness –
But since I met Him I can see!

When the Pharisees heard it they put me on trial;
Even called in my parents and grilled them a while.
And when at the end, I defended the man
Who had opened my eyes, all the trouble began.

I said, “Ever since the beginning of time
No one’s opened the eyes of someone born blind
This man’s sent from God, it just can’t be denied!”
And they cursed me and grabbed me, and threw me outside.

I really don’t know how He found me,
I just know He was talking to me.
It was easy to tell by the sound of His voice
He was the reason I see.

And as soon as He spoke to me I couldn’t hide
The emotion that welled up from deep down inside
And combined with the dreams that He’d made to come true;
To kneel there and worship was all I could do!

And I called Him my Lord and Messiah
For everything He’d done for me.
Yesterday I was in darkness,
But since I met Him I can see!

And I call Him my Lord and my Savior
For everything He’s done for me.
Yesterday I was in darkness,
But since I met Him,
Since I met Him,
Since I met Him I can see!

Since I met Him (Messiah!)
Since I met Him (Messiah!)
Since I met Him I can see!

The Traveler, Don Francisco, 1981 You can purchase this music

from the artist’s web site here.



Jesus walking on the waterToday’s story as told by Don Francisco in song is from Matthew 14:22-33, and is one of the most famous of the miracles of Jesus. Even those who don’t know about Jesus will have heard something about “walking on the water”. Again, the story is told from the point of view of one of its participants, this time by Peter. His boldness in the face of a frightening situation is another example of Peter’s willingness to do it all for Jesus, to demonstrate his trust. What makes this rendering of the story particularly meaningful is the message delivered in the final two lines. Wait for it – it’s well worth the journey through the song. 

From Don Francisco’s first album Brother Of The Son in 1976, here is Voyage To Gennesaret. As before, the audio Bible version used here is the 2002 dramatized NIV Audio Bible by Zondervan Publishing, read by Steven Johnston.

Eleven men besides myself
In a boat both small and light
Pushed off for Gennesaret
In the first watch of the night
But a storm blew up at midnight
Coming hard down on the prow
We started losing headway
Shipping water stern and bow

When someone shouted loud,
“Hey, look to starboard on the sea!”
The men screamed out in terror
At the form we all could see
A man was walking on the water,
And we trembled, cried and prayed
But He stopped and turned and spoke to us,
“It is I, don’t be afraid.”

I shouted out to Jesus,
“If it’s You, then call to me,
And tell me now to come to You
And walk across the sea.”
Without a second’s thought
He looked at me and answered, “Come!”
My insides turned to water
My mind went blank and numb.

I climbed across the gunwhale
Looking straight into His eyes
But long before I reached His side,
The wind began to rise
And I forgot Him in an instant
And I sank just like a stone
I cried out, “Jesus save me!”
And His hand was on my own.

“Oh man of little faith,” He said,
“What made you doubt My word.
Have you been this long with Me
Without knowing what you’ve heard?”

We climbed into the boat
And all at once the wind was gone
The sea turned calm and gentle
The day began to dawn.

We knelt amazed and worshipped Him
For the power He displayed
For all that we had seen
Had left us wondering and dismayed

It was not till after Pentecost
I could really understand
But even when I doubted Him,
He did not let go my hand.

Brother Of The Son, Don Francisco, 1976

Tell It

Healing Jairus' daughterAny parent who has had a child who was gravely ill will tell you how very difficult it is to handle. There is a major feeling of helplessness to have a child that is sick, and who begs you to make him or her better. It is bad enough to have this happen if you live where there is modern medical care available; at least in those circumstances, you have a little assurance that a solution will be found. But imagine how difficult it would be with no healthcare available beyond folk remedies, and your child is sick with a fever, and continues to get more and more ill. What can you do? How do you handle it??

Today’s Bible story in song by Don Francisco is from Mark 5:22-24, and Mark 5:35-43. It involves this very problem, and the efforts made by the father to get the only help he could think of: The healer from Galilee, Jesus. From Don Francisco’s 1979 album of the same name, here is Got To Tell Somebody.  The audio Bible version used here is the 2002 dramatized NIV Audio Bible by Zondervan Publishing, read by Steven Johnston.

She kept on getting weaker as day dragged into day
The doctors gave no hope for her; she seemed to fade away
My hours were filled with constant dread; time became a knife
That slowly and relentlessly cut the cord of life

There was a teacher in the region then some of us had heard
That He’d healed a paralytic by the power of just His Word
So with hope again rekindled I went at once to see
If I could find a man named Jesus from a town in Galilee

I began to search the city and soon I saw the crowd
They were pressing in to touch Him and they called His Name out loud
But with the strength of desperation I pushed them all aside
I through myself before Him and from my knees I cried,

“Lord, come and heal my daughter! Even now she’s close to death!
Her fever’s uncontrollable, she fights for every breath.
But God’s given You the power; life is Yours to give;
If you’ll just lay Your hands on her I know that she will live.!
She will live, she will live.”

Well, He’d just begun to go with me when a face I saw with fear
Came towards me with the news I knew I didn’t want to hear
And although I tried to steel myself I trembled when he said
“Why bother the Teacher anymore? Your little girl is dead.”

Then Jesus touched my shoulder and He told me not to grieve
The trembling stopped when He looked at me and said, “Only believe!”
Then He sent the crowds away except His closest men
And they followed right behind us, as we started off again

But we were still a long ways down the road when I heard the sounds and cries
Of the mourners and musicians as they strove to dramatize
My grief they had no business with beneath their loud disguise
My wife just sat there silently, and stared through empty eyes

Then Jesus asked the mourners, “Why is it that you weep?
She isn’t dead as you suppose, the child is just asleep.”
It only took a moment for their wails to turn to jeers
“Who does this man think he is? Get him out of here!”

And with authority I’ve never heard in the lips of any man
He spoke and every sound rolled out with the thunder of command
And in the sudden silence they all hurried for the door
Wondering what the reasons were they’d ever come there for

Then He called his three disciples that were with Him on the way
He led them and my wife and me to where our daughter lay
He took her by the hand; He told her “Child, arise!”
And the words were barely spoken when she opened up her eyes!

She rose and walked across the room and stood there at our side
My wife knelt down and held her close and at last she really cried
And then Jesus told us both to see that our daughter had some food
But as to how her life was saved, not to speak a word…
Not to speak a word…

I got to tell somebody!

I got to tell somebody!

I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me
I got to tell somebody, got to tell somebody, what Jesus did for me!

Got To Tell Somebody, Don Francisco, 1979 You can purchase this music       

from the artist’s web site here.