Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend: John 3:16 the perfect answer

By Rev Greth Burke

This year, 2014, is going to be a year of commemoration. One hundred years ago the First World War began and many TV documentaries, exhibitions and other events have been organised to remind us of the horror of the conflict. In this part of the world reference is often made to the Battle of the Somme and to the huge number of men from Ulster killed in that battle.

Recently I came across a remarkable story written by someone who had served in the front line at the Somme. The unnamed soldier graphically described how his friend, Bert, was hit by a piece of shrapnel and seriously wounded.

While lying dying at the bottom of the trench some of his comrades tried to make him comfortable by finding him an old coat to lie on. Although very weak Bert was heard saying something and, despite the noise of the battle raging round about, the other men were able to make out what he was saying. He was asking a question: "Can anyone tell me the way to heaven?''

One of Bert's friends, known as Jim, decided that he was going to do all that he could to try and find an answer to the crucial question of his dying friend. Despite the extreme danger involved he went from trench to trench asking the other soldiers for help.

"Bert is dying," he said, "and he wants to know the way to heaven. Can anyone help?" No one was able to provide the answer until Jim came across a gunner in a machine gun post. On being asked the crucial question he was able to provide the answer but was unable to leave his post to speak with Bert personally.

Instead Jim was quickly given a copy of the New Testament and his attention drawn to the words of John chapter 3 and verse 16. "Show these words to Bert," was Jim's instruction. "Tell him that is the way to heaven."

With great speed Jim returned to Bert and shared with him the words of John 3:16 – 'For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life'.

The perfect answer to Bert's question.

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