It was forty-one years ago today that I met a man who I am certain passed my way on several occasions for he was know well by so many that my life revolved around at that early age. For whatever reason I had never really paid him much attention, till that night. Oh, I had seen him in passing and we had probably greeted one another but I moved on never stopping to consider him. That night I did.
It probably had something to do with the fact that when I saw him that night he was bleeding and suffering on a tree. It was a horrible sight. I had known for some time that this event was part of his history I simply did not rightly regard it. That night I did. I think in part it was because I realized that he bled and died because of me. When I saw his suffering in that context my sin appeared more horrible than it ever had. Even at the "innocent" age of seven if my sin required that sacrifice then of necessity my sin must have been a horrible affront to God. I felt bad because of what my sin had occasioned.
I now was truly afraid of going to hell. I now realized for the first time that I can remember that not only was I going to hell but fully deserved to go to hell. Yes, it was a frightening thought. But if my sin required such suffering from one who was by his own testimony the sinless Son of God, then truly I deserved everything terrible I had coming to me. I feared for my life and my eternity. Hell was more real than it had ever been, because I had seen this man dying on a cross for my sin.
Yet, the marvel of it all is that very night when I met him at that frightful cross-roads called Calvary within a moment I met him again but this time he was standing outside an empty tomb. He was alive. He who had died was now alive. There must be hope! The tragedy of his death was followed by the triumph of his resurrection. Here was a man who had died because of sin and now was alive. What must this mean for sin?
Before I left my knees I knew the answer. Forgiveness and eternal life. If I would trust his death, burial, and resurrection I would be given a pardon, I would be forgiven. I did and he did! I claimed the promise, he kept the promise. I'm glad I met him that evening!
In the last forty-one years of life he has been constantly by my side, if I chose to walk with him. If I chose not to I have always found him right where I left him. I have never been able to leave him for very long. I think this bears testimony to the fact that I really do belong to him. I must be with him. I cannot stand it when we are not walking together. Never once when walking apart have I found him to be wrong and me to be right. It has always, without fail, been the other way around.
What a friend he has been! I have had forty-one years to learn of him and get to know him. He has never disappointed me though I have often disappointed him. It is some comfort to me that I cannot disappoint him without disappointing myself.
When I have been lonely his presence was real.
When I have been forsaken he has been true.
When I have been fearful he was my refuge.
When I have been sad he was there to cheer.
When I have been laid low he was there to pick me up.
When I have been confused he was there to straighten me out.
When I have been disobedient he was there to rebuke.
When I have been frustrated he was there to calm my heart.
When I have been tried he has been their to strengthen.
When I have been pressed beyond measure he has been there to offer relief.
When I have been brokenhearted he has been there to pick up the pieces.
When I have had joy he has been their to see that they were multiplied.
When I have been ready to give up he has been there encouraging to press on.
Simply put he has been there! More than any other person. More than wife, mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter, friend or acquaintance he has been there.
So I thank God that forty-one years ago I met Jesus! I met him for myself! I really know him. We walk together and talk together. He is always there challenging, encouraging, rebuking and comforting and I love him for it. I love him more than I ever have but not near as much as he deserves!
If you do not know Jesus, if your life has not been turned from unrighteousness to righteousness through the repentance of sin and trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ may I suggest that you open your bible and meet him at Calvary and face the horrible consequences of your sin and that you deserve hell a thousand times over. If you will meet him there and follow his path to see him standing by an empty tomb you too can know him as I have. If you will claim the promise through repentance and faith he will be sure to keep the promise to you as he has to me.