And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Matthew 17:3 KJV
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time? Where would you go? Would you witness some historical event? Would you go see some famous person? Would you go back and try to fix a mistake? With so many choices, what would you do?
The biggest grossing movie, some $383 million, in 1985, has always been one of my favorite movies. It was “Back to the Future.” In the movie, Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, travels back in time in a DeLorean DMC-12 that acts like a time machine. He soon realizes that everything he does in the past effects the present, including his own life.
Robert was one of those rare individuals who only had to travel in his own mind to be in a lot of major historical events. If you sit and think about it, he really had an amazing life.
It was September 6, 1901 and the Pan-American Exposition was being held in Buffalo, New York. Everyone was excited. What made the occasion even more special was the President was going to be there. Robert was in the crowd at the Exposition that day viewing the venues just like everyone else. Then the shocking word reached him that President McKinley had been shot at the Exposition. The President would die eight days later.
Moses is probably one of the most well known Old Testament characters. He is a giant hero among the Jews, as he should be. He stood up to a Pharaoh and guided a rag-tag group of complainers to the boundary of the Promised Land. He, or one of his events, might make an interesting trip back in time.
It was July 2, 1881 and President James Garfield was at the Sixth Street train station in Washington DC. Robert was his Secretary of War and he was with him. Charles Giteau was in the crowd and came up and shot President Garfield as Robert stood there and watched the event happen. Eleven weeks later, on September 19, 1881, President Garfield would die.
Elias, probably better known as Elijah, was one of those big time prophets in the Old Testament. Among his many accomplishments was mocking the 450 false prophets of Baal who couldn’t wake Baal up to start a fire. Elijah’s water soaked structure was quickly engulfed in flames when he prayed to the true God. That, too, might make an interesting visit.
It was April 1865. He was summoned to the house across the street from Ford’s Theater. President Lincoln had been shot and laid dying in a bed at the house. Shot by John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln would die a short time later. You guessed it, Robert was there.
The Bible character that probably needs no introduction to those who are Christians is Jesus. One only needs to open one of the first four Gospels and point and I’m sure they would find an interesting place to travel back to in His life.
The Civil War was taking a great toll on our country. Now it was coming to a close. It was April 9, 1865 and General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, surrendered to General U.S. Grant, the Union general. Guess who showed up for this event, too. Yes, Robert was there, too.
Peter, James and John were three of the disciples of Jesus. Peter has always the king of, “Did you really say that,” moments. Wouldn’t it be interesting to witness one of Peter’s stumbling moments? Maybe that would make a great choice for time travel.
Edwin was an actor, just like his brother. Robert was waiting to board a train in 1863 or 1864. The crowd was pushing and shoving to get into the train. The train sat a little distance from the platform. Robert fell in between the train and the platform. Edwin quickly rushed to his rescue, pulling him to safety just before the train got ready to take off. Robert would live to witness all these events because Edwin saved his life.
In Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of a high mountain. Jesus was transformed right before them and “behold,” Moses and Elias appeared with him. The present merged with the past and the disciples probably didn’t know what to think. But that never stopped Peter from saying something. He thought they should build three tabernacles to honor these historical guests. Then God shouted at them that this was his Son. The disciples were scared to death. It was the event, not what they should do, that Jesus wanted them to witness.
I’m sure Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth, didn’t know he had just saved the life of young Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, that day at the train station. I’m sure Robert never imagined he would witness so many historical events either. For the record, Robert Todd Lincoln never accepted another Presidential invite after the death of President McKinley. Robert would say, “No, I’m not going, and they’d better not ask me, because there is a certain fatality about the presidential function when I am present.”
Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, It is amazing to think about the events that have occurred. Thank you so much for their lessons. Let me be guided by the trial some have blazed that teach me how to live for you. Amen.