by Pastor Mark Fisher
October 20, 2016
This August trip to Minnesota was different; it was his last. The 25 year old man was dying of AIDS. Outwardly, he was weak and thin, weighing only ninety pounds, with his physical life quickly ebbing away. Internally, he was grappling with the concepts of life, death and eternity.
James had not been a religious man nor had he tried to be. He simply lived his life as he chose. He had been to various churches at times but was treated as unwanted. That is why, unsurprisingly, his guard was up when we met that day. He was prepared to reject his cousin’s words. But the message of God's love in Christ overcame his fear!
James was introduced to the limitless grace of God. He listened intently and struggled to understand the purpose of Jesus Christ's coming to die for his sin and to be raised again for his justification. He smiled and said, "I am a simple person and this is simpler than me."
James was thrilled to read the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 53:4-11, where it perfectly predicted Christ's suffering for sin and His marvelous resurrection 700 years before His actual coming. He was fully convinced. He confessed, "I believe this message of God's Son." That moment James was forgiven for all his sins. He rejoiced in the truth of God’s affirmation, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17. James was now a child of God!
The last few months of James' life were extremely difficult. Each day was a struggle as his body wasted away; inching its way closer to death, yet James was kept by the power and faithfulness of his Savior Jesus Christ.
A few short months after his visit to Minnesota, James died. He now was in Heaven, face-to-face with his Savior, enjoying the riches of God’s grace and kindness. Ephesians 2:7 says, "...In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." The Apostle Paul also says in 1 Timothy 1:15, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”