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Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Last week, I was intrigued to learn that there was a ceremony in which a statue of the Reverend Billy Graham was installed in Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

I watched it on a link, which was sent to me. This was an important recognition of a pastor, who after a life of service, was being recognized in the rotunda of our Capitol Building.

That night, I wanted to hear about it again on the television news. But there was no news coverage of this on any of the television news programs I watched. The statue is strategically placed right next to the main corridor, where senators, and representatives and crowds of visitors, tourists and children on tour will walk right past it.

Billy Graham is one of only four people in United States history who have received the three honors of a Congressional Gold Medal, who have laid in state in the Capitol’s rotunda, and who have a statue in Statuary Hall. That has happened to only three other people in our nation’s history.

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime, royalty wanted to meet him and, more importantly, he presented the gospel in person to over 2 and a half million people throughout the world. Most people my age watched his sermons on television, by which multiple millions more were deeply impacted by the presentation of a life in Christ.

I personally saw him as a 13-year-old at Madison Square Garden in New York. Back home, I attended a more formal church, which never gave an alter call, nor did it stress that we are sinners, who truly need to saved. I heard Billy Graham clearly tell us that we need God and we need to be saved in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He gave a clear call to make a public profession of faith to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior in order to honor God, love God and receive the abundant life and eternal life. Years later, after seminary and studying the Word of God, I can see that he was biblically correct.

Franklin Graham spoke during the ceremony in the rotunda and said that his father would be slightly embarrassed by this honor, because the only person he wanted to point to was not to himself, but to Jesus Christ.

During the ceremony, House Speaker Mike Johnson, the governor, House representatives and United States senators from Graham’s native North Carolina all gave their personal testimonies of faith in God through their Savior Jesus Christ. They all acknowledged that they had been impacted by the ministry of Billy Graham.

On the Graham statute in Statuary Hall are inscribed two verse citations. One is John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

The other inscribed verse is John 14:6:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

I wonder how many children and tourists and legislators and dignitaries will see those verse citations on the statue and go home to look them up.

On the statue, Billy Graham is holding an open Bible and he is pointing to a verse. House Speaker Mike Johnson was explaining that to see what this verse is, you would have to put up a tall ladder and look down onto the 7-foot-high statue from above to read it, but the verse is Galatians 6:14. Mike Johnson held up Billy Graham’s personal study Bible to show the gathered audience that Billy Graham had underlined that verse in red. Then he read Galatians 6:14:

“14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

In spite of his worldwide fame and respect like few other men have ever achieved, Billy Graham was focused on boasting only about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Let us all just look to Jesus Christ.

Roger Holl, D.Min. is the pastor of Sterling Grace Community Church and directs VisionAlaska with ministries in church planting and revitalization and ministries in rural Alaska and Kenya, Africa.

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