During the 1990’s while living in New York City, I had the privilege of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the streets and subways of that large City. I have many memories from those days and I truly wish that I had written down the dates, times, and places of some of my experiences. I remember one day in particular on the subway. As I entered the subway car the first thing I noticed was a very tall and lanky man fast asleep on the opposite side of the car.
It appeared that he was homeless, and he had that whole section of the subway car to himself because nobody would sit near him. I also noticed that the man had a large red apple sitting on his chest. Someone probably had left it there, as it is not unusual for people to give food to the homeless.
I felt a little guilty about preaching because I knew that this subway car was the man’s sleeping quarters and I did not want to disturb him, but the roar of the train was so loud that it was necessary to raise my voice. As I started to share the Word of God with the folks on the train, the first time that I mentioned the name of Jesus Christ the homeless man spoke the name “Jeeeeesus” with a long drawl. He did this while still lying on his back with his eyes closed. The next time that I mentioned the name of Jesus Christ the man said the name Jesus again in the same long drawl as before only louder. The people in the subway car reacted to this with laughter, some of them covering their mouths to hide their smirks, others bordering on being hysterical.
In the middle of all this a man with an upturned hat entered the subway car looking for donations. He was talking twice as loud as I was, and this was the icing on the cake for the folks on the train. The laughter increased. I prayed inwardly and remained silent until that man passed through the car, and then I resumed preaching. As I looked over toward the homeless man I was absolutely amazed that the apple never left his chest, considering how the train was rocking back and forth. I could not keep myself from looking at it, and it remained on his chest the whole time I was there.
As I resumed preaching the homeless man started to rise up in slow motion, first sitting up, taking the apple in his hand and eventually standing up completely. Except for the roar of the train there was now complete quiet, and every eye was upon this man as he walked toward me. The man was well over 6 feet tall, and very lanky. He handed me the apple and said “this is for you, I like Jesus.”
The atmosphere on the train completely changed, and went from laughter to a somber silence. By the look on the man’s face you would think that he had given me a million dollars. I dared not refuse the apple, telling him “thank you my friend” and meaning every word of it. The Lord Jesus Christ was truly glorified down in the subway system of NYC that day.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:8-9)