A friend in need is a friend indeed. This is what the late evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham, showed controversial televangelist Jim Bakker after the latter was in prison and suffering at the lowest point in his life.
In 1987, Bakker's ministry ground to a halt after he was accused of paying off his secretary to keep quiet about an alleged rape. He was later slapped with a five-year prison sentence due to several fraud charges, according to The Christian Post.
After he learned that Graham has passed away, Bakker told WBTV that he did not think twice about flying to Charlotte to pay his respects to the man who showed him remarkable kindness when many others turned their backs on him.
"Billy Graham came into my prison when I was there. He wrapped his arms around me when I was a mess. I was cleaning toilets at that moment and I was at a very low moment in my life," Bakker said. "Billy Graham walked in and threw his arms around me and said, 'Jim, I love you.'"
Graham's wife, Ruth, who passed away in 2007, was no different. After he was released from prison, she even invited him to dine with them in their North Carolina home. "And Ruth Graham is so amazing, it would take me hours to tell. As I got out of prison, I was at the Graham home, I was at the church with Ruth Graham and all," he recalled. "But they represented Jesus Christ to somebody who the world said was fallen and would never preach again."
Bakker, who now hosts "The Jim Bakker Show," has no doubt that Graham is now in heaven, and he is looking forward to the day that he will be reunited with his good friend.
Earlier, Bakker reflected on his website about the timing of Graham's death. "Some believed and have declared that the death of Billy Graham would signal the beginning of the last days. I don't know this to be a fact, but I do know, according to the Scriptures, we are truly living in the final days before the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ," he wrote.
Bakker noted that Graham's age, 99, is a number that means fruitfulness. "At an age of double fruitfulness, Billy enters Heaven, leaving an abundant legacy of fruitfulness that no man has ever before achieved," he said.