Years ago I spent a Fall day with my Grandmother.
Now that isn’t much of a ‘hook’ into a story, but something
happened that day that changed both of us, forever.
We shopped for groceries and then made dinner together. After dinner she turned on the television and selected one of the 2 channels offered back then in Redding, CA. She thought we’d watch Lawrence Welk, but instead there was a Billy Graham Crusade being broadcast.
We watched as Reverend Graham spoke on John 3:7,
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’.”
As Reverend Graham gave the invitation, my Grandmother turned to me and asked what were the people doing who were leaving their seats and making their way onto the stadium field. I told her they were going down to pray to receive Jesus as their Savior.
With her soft blue-grey eyes focused intently on mine she said, “I’d like to do that too.”
I was momentarily stunned, but I gathered my wits I moved to sit next to her on the sofa. We bowed our heads and held hands. And as Billy Graham led thousands to new life in Christ, I had the incredible privilege and joy of leading my Grandmother in prayer as she asked Jesus Christ to be her Savior. This was a woman with a lifetime of church attendance and Sunday dinners in her home with the Pastor and his wife as guests.
She believed in God, but had never, not once in her over 80 years, placed her trust in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross on her behalf.
I wonder sometimes how many others there are like my Grandmother.
The message of the Cross seems barbaric.
It isn’t popular.
It never was.
It isn’t uplifting in the general sense of that word’s current usage.
The Cross declares with graphic clarity the lostness of man.
Our abject spiritual poverty.
Our unholiness and sin.
It tells us plainly how far removed we are from a holy God.
The idea that all roads lead to God is crushed under the weight of the Cross.
The idea that we are good enough as we are, if true, would make the Cross a cruel exercise in futility. What kind of Father would send a son on a Fool’s Errand with such horrific consequences, when it wasn’t THE ONLY WAY POSSIBLE for man to be forgiven?
The Bible states unequivocally that,
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you’ve never heard the gospel, the good news, it is this:
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth to live among us and die for us.
He had no sin, but took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, giving His life for us on the Cross of Calvary.
His blood has the power to cleanse us from our sins.
His resurrection demonstrates the acceptance of His sacrifice for us by God the Father.
That resurrection gives to a Christian a ‘living hope’ of life after death and an eternity spent in the presence of God in a place called heaven.
Today is Palm Sunday.
The name refers to the day, over 2000 years ago, when Jesus Christ entered into the city of Jerusalem riding upon a colt. As He entered, the crowd threw their coats upon the path and some cut palm branches and strewing them across the path. They cried out, “Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”
Just five days later the crowds before Pilate would cry, “Crucify Him!”
Which group would you stand with?
Which cry would come from your lips?
Jesus Christ divides all of humanity into two groups: the saved and the lost, the forgiven and the guilty.
And we each choose for ourselves.
Which will you choose?
I’ve included what is probably the last message Billy Graham will give in his long ministry of the gospel.
I found an old crusade message like the one my Grandmother and I heard that night so long ago on the theme, You Must Be Born Again.
That Fall evening my Grandmother found what she hadn’t known she was looking for.
And I changed too. I found the joy of being used by God to help another person lay hold on eternal life! Truly one of the most exciting experiences possible.
If you’re not sure you have eternal life, please listen to one, or both.
May you find peace with God in this Easter Season through the gift of salvation Jesus made possible on the Cross.