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Burdens are Lifted at Calvary

Burdens are Lifted at Calvary


An inquisitive crowd gathered on the quayside at Queen’s Dock, Glasgow. An ambulance arrived on the scene with siren screaming. Soon the crowd saw a young seaman being carried out on a stretcher and placed inside the ambulance. “What happened to Bill?” they asked, “Oh, he fell down the hold of the ship, and has some broken bones.”

Even as the ambulance was speeding towards the Royal Infirmary, one of the shipping company’s secretaries was putting a call through to the well-known Seamen’s Mission giving the information of the young sailor’s accident to the missionary on duty.

Next day, Bill had his first visitor. “Someone’s here to see you, Bill. Would you like to try and sit up?” asked his nurse. Bill looked up to see a tall young fellow about twenty-four years old standing by his bedside. Introducing himself, he said ‘’I’m John Moore, I was so sorry to hear about your accident. I know your ship well, and have visited it a few times.” Bill thanked him for coming to see him, and after some general conversation, John put his hand inside a bag he was carrying, and brought out a little colourful tract. It had a coloured print of a painting of “Pilgrim” from the famous story “Pilgrim’s Progress,” by John Bunyan, and was titled “The Falling of the Burden.”

“Have you ever seen that picture before?” asked John, as he held it before Bill. There was the scene of a man with a heavy burden on his back approaching a cross, and as he advanced towards the cross, the burden snapped from his back and was about to roll away.

“No, it’s the first time I have ever seen that picture,” replied Bill.

John went on, enthusiastically, “This is really a wonderful story. This man is called ‘Pilgrim.’ He lives in a place called the City of Destruction, and wants to get out of it. He is carrying this heavy burden on his back, and he wants to get rid of it. No one seemed able to help him until one day he met a man called Mr. Evangelist who assured him that he knew where he could find the place of deliverance, and pointed the way.”

“Pilgrim followed the instructions of Mr. Evangelist, and eventually, after many an adventure, he came to the cross, and as he advanced towards it, the burden snapped from off his back and rolled down a steep hill into the gaping sepulchre below. Pilgrim gave three leaps for joy and shouted ‘He has given me rest by his sorrow and life by his death. Blest cross! Blest sepulchre! blessed rather be the Man that there was put to shame for me'.”

Seeing that Bill was very interested in the story, John continued. “that story was really Bunyan’s personal testimony. He was a wild young tinker boy in Bedford, England, and one day he overheard a group of women sharing their faith. They spoke about knowing God, about the forgiveness of their sins, and the more he heard, the more uncomfortable he became. He realized that he was not ready to meet God. This burden grew heavier, and no one seemed able to help him, until one day he met his Mr. Evangelist, a certain Mr. John Gifford who pointed him to Jesus Christ and to the cross where He died for the sins of the world; and urged him to place his faith in Him alone for his eternal salvation. The day came when John Bunyan trusted in Jesus Christ for his salvation, and he rejoiced in the marvelous experience of God’s saving grace.”

As Bill continued to show great interest, John went on, “I was fifteen years old when I had a similar experience. Some of my young friends had personally accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and were living transformed lives. I became quite concerned about my life, about my past, and about my eternal destiny. It was like a burden on my heart. Then, one night, lying in bed, while everyone else in my home was fast asleep, I was wide awake, and found myself crying to God the first real prayer I ever prayed ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner, and save me for Jesus sake !’ And, somehow, I knew that my prayer was answered. I experienced such a sense of relief, and joy.”

Tears welled up in Bill’s eyes as he listened to John’s testimony, and John ventured to say “I think you also have a burden, Bill?” He nodded. John followed “Would you like to come with me by faith to this same wonderful Saviour who died on the cross for your sins?”

Bill whispered “Yes, I would!” Joining hands they prayed together as Bill placed his trust in the One who loved him, who died for his sins, and who rose again and is alive forevermore.

When they opened their tear-stained eyes after prayer, John asked him “Where’s your burden now, Bill?”

With a smile, he replied “It’s gone!” Sometime later, sitting at the fireside, John was writing down some of the happenings of that day, when he found himself penning some lines of poetry, little realizing that he was composing lines that would become one of the favourite gospel songs of the century:

“Days are filled with sorrow and care,
hearts are lonely and drear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.
Cast your care on Jesus today,
leave your worry and fear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near.
Troubled soul, the Saviour can see,
every heartache and tear;
Burdens are lifted at Calvary,
Jesus is very near”.

Today, John’s song is being sung in many languages around the world, for people are still discovering that “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Have you made that wonderful discovery that your burden can be lifted through the sacrificial death, burial and victorious resurrection of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ?

Pray along these lines: “O God, I confess that I am a sinner in Your sight, but I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, that if I believe in Him, I will have eternal life. Lord, forgive me, wash my many sins away through the precious blood of Christ, and come into my life as my Lord and Saviour. Thank you for hearing and answering me. Help me to live for Your glory from now on. Amen.” - Dr. John Moore

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