Last One Home
by Larry Anderson
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As the sun’s rays break over the Eastern horizon... a lone figure sits atop a small hill just above the sandy shoreline. His shoulders stooped, back bent, his long silver-white hair and beard are waving some in a soft, cool breeze blowing in off the glistening waters of the Mediterranean.
As he had so many mornings, the great Apostle John had come early – carried by friends - eager to address his Heavenly Father – the One to Whom, quite literally, he owed it all! On this morn, his thoughts go back - memories of so many years ago - yet more precious now than the very first day he saw the Galilean and heard Him say, “Come... follow me”!
How those words had stirred his heart; simple words, yet they somehow held a strange and compelling authority! They had gripped his heart so long ago – clothed him with a joyous and wonderful sense of mystery – held him as a willing prisoner to their eternal and unspeakable promise!
He’d only just begun to understand through recent years (out of so many that had passed), the true value that had carried his heart so many times, so far beyond mere spoken words!
He had watched, as throughout long days and nights, the miracles of Jesus had paraded before the eyes of multiplied thousands! Hearts were filled to overflowing the three and one half years the Anointed One had walked among them. So many lives had been changed forever! The list was long; He had fed so many, with so very little! The indescribable joy that “captured” so many, as their eyes were opened, their legs strengthened, straitened as they arose to leap and run, for some, the first time in all their lives! Lepers saw ugly, rotted members changed before their very eyes, skin restored to that of a youth! So powerful, the Master, that even the waters of the sea and the raging, terrible storms had obeyed His voice!
Many memories still brought back a taste of reverent fear – awesome feelings that would never become common-place - they had been so powerful as to almost bring a fear for life itself!
Remembering now, the deep, wrenching sorrow and the mounting fear that had gripped them all during those painful hours following His crucifixion! Yes... he remembered...! Sometimes, he’d felt a little of the shame, not trusting as he should, although he had rested long ago in knowing he’d been forgiven – cleansed and made whole – and for that he was so deeply grateful!
His face was cooled by the light breeze now, as he wiped away the many tears that dimmed his eyes!
Of course he could never forget how angry his persecutors and those in authority had gotten – even as they witnessed the very power of God at work – refusing to recognize the Savior as the Great I Am… the One spoken of by the prophets of old!
It had to have been their devilish pride, he thought, that moved them to banish him to this place! They really had no other choice. They couldn’t have him walking about spreading the news of Jesus’ resurrection, standing before all as proof of Jesus’ power to protect, heal and set free those in bondage?
The hardness of some men’s hearts can sometimes still amaze, refusing to be understood, tearing at common sense and silently mocking all righteous thought and principle. This is, of course because of the ever-present efforts of Satan – father of lies and master of deception – operating through the “clinging vines” of the sin nature that abides in us all..!
Watching some gulls rise noisily off the water and take flight, his thoughts again changed direction. Established long ago and tested countless times across the years, was a faith in knowing that God, by His Holy Spirit, is far more powerful – and always proves victorious - in a life open and dedicated fully to Him through believing fully in what Jesus did at Calvary’s Cross!
He remembered his great friend, the Apostle Paul, for he had called it, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, and said it was the very most powerful Law that God had ever set in place! Some things of Paul’s teachings were hard to understand at first - as Peter too had said - but faith could always be found to bridge the gap and receive the benefits intended! So very many times the Lord had proved Himself faithful to His promises..!
Reports had made it to the prison colony that all the rest had now gone home to Glory! He was the last one remaining! At times, it gave him a real sense of sadness, but that was soon lifted by remembrance of the many promises left by the Lord Himself!
Had He not said: “Let not your hearts be troubled, You believe in God, believe also in me, for in my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
(Written by John’s own hand – John 14:2,3).
This early morning he felt sort of “drawn” between two invading thoughts as a bit of a mental struggle would bring each in turn into warm and vivid memory..! More than once, he had dried his tired eyes as the familiar longing and sadness would rise – he missed them all – especially the Lord, the One to Whom he owed so very much..! Then, on the other hand, joy, unspeakable would rise, flooding his very soul as he “relived” those precious moments... enraptured again in the memories of so much he’d seen – reminded that it shouldn’t be long now... he’d also be going home... reunited with his precious Savior and as well the family that had gone on..!
His old frame straightened a little as he drew a deep breath! Even so... he thought... Come quickly, Lord Jesus..! Amen!
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