Throughout his life, Billy Graham preached the gospel of the Messiah Jesus to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.
Born Nov. 7, 1918, four days before the armistice ended World War I, William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. grew up during the Depression and developed a work ethic that would carry him through decades of ministry on six continents.
He was a wonderful man and I was blessed to have interviewed him back when I worked in television in Reno. I hosted a program called , Night Scene, and Billy Graham was conducting four Crusades at the Convention Center: I was the only TV guy to get a one-on-one with him. When he discovered I was Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus) our 15-minute interview stretched into 45! He was so genuine and sincere, and it was clear all he cared about was reaching others with The Lord’s good news. He invited my wife and I to the Crusade, which we enjoyed thoroughly. We invited a major skeptic with us–that friend since became a pastor (and has been now for over 20-years).
Billy followed up with a personal letter after his visit to Reno, which my dad (of all people) framed and proudly displayed in his office. I bumped into Billy several years later in Washington DC and he actually remembered me. What a genuine man!
In his last Crusade, Billy said this:
“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.” June 2005, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York
His death reminds me of this exciting passage from Revelation 21:1-4,
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”