11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Yesterday, the great evangelist and preacher Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. Over the course of decades, thousands around the world heard him boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Earlier in his life, he was quoted as saying, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Graham lived in this life with the hope of the next in mind. He also said, “The most thrilling thing about heaven is that Jesus Christ will be there. I will see Him face to face. Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of life’s journey.”
Billy Graham understood the hope of eternal life with Jesus Christ. This invigorated his earthly ministry. While Graham longed to be in the presence of God, he lived with a sense of purpose and urgency. He lived out these words from CS Lewis: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” In our passage in Revelation 3:11-13, we see the hope of the day when all will be made right. This new city, the new Jerusalem, brings great encouragement in the midst of life’s trial and difficulties.
As Christians, we need to be intentional about reflecting on the hope of the new. One day, we too will be in the presence of God. Our pain and difficulties on earth will not last forever. We have the assurance of spending eternity with Jesus. This wonderful truth encourages us and motivates us here and now on earth. We are in Christ and have a hopeful message for a world in need. As we live on earth, we remember that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Today, take a moment to really consider this reality. Have a little fun making a “bucket list” for Heaven and praise God for the gift of salvation and the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.
By Billy Berglund