For some reason, the number 24 has played an important role in my life, and Janet’s life, for many years now. And even more intriguing is the role that March 24th, today’s date, has had in my life.
For starters, my maternal grandfather died on March 24, 1972. He was an idol of mine and the one who taught me about my role as the oldest child in the family – and the responsibilities that were mine as his oldest grandson. Grandpa had lost his mother and young sister when he was a boy – both from tuberculosis just after 1900. It was through these events that Grandpa learned about taking care of the remaining family. He left home at the age of 13 to earn money to support his younger brothers and sisters. His father, my great grandfather, was an engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and he eventually remarried. In the blended family, I heard that there were 13 children – far more than Grandpa could support on his own.
Work ethic, morals, discipline and hard work were all things that I learned initially from him. He was a great teacher and I like to think that I learned my lessons well.
And then, on March 24, 1993, I stopped drinking. I could see that it was becoming a problem and I wasn’t going to let alcohol get a foothold in my life or affect me longterm. So, I quit “cold turkey” that day. Sure, I miss it from time to time, but when I was ordained, a commitment to abstain from alcohol was part of the vow I made. And that made the whole thing a little easier for me.
So those events are things that I always remember on this day. Added to that, Janet and I were engaged on the 24th – December 24, 1972 to be exact – and we were married the following August 24th. This summer we will celebrate 46 years together raising three children who have four children of their own.
There are other illustrations of the importance of the number 24 in our lives, but you get the idea. And, of course, I wouldn’t have brought this up if 24 wasn’t also an important number in the Bible. There are references to giants who have 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot – 24 digits in all… And King David decreed that 24,000 people would oversee the work of the temple.
In the book of Revelation, we are told that there were 24 elders who surrounded the throne in heaven. Theologians debate who these elders were. But it is widely believed that they represent the twelve tribes of Israel from the Old Testament and the twelve apostles from the New Testament. The verse that tells us this is our verse for tonight. We are told by the apostle John, the author of Revelation, in Revelation 11:16-17, “And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus is the answer to all our problems. Even before His resurrection, Jesus has been our advocate with the Father. And, someday, Jesus will return to rule for all eternity. My prayer is that we all will put our faith and trust in Christ, the King for all time. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…