Traveling preacher sees red for Jesus

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dressed all in red and carrying a cross bearing the sign, “Jesusof Nazareth,” the man sat almost motionless on the corner next toMcDonalds.

“The red is because of the blood of Christ,” said ObadiahFranklin, a traveling preacher with no hometown who has taken hismission to 47 of the 48 continental United States. “You shouldn’tbe able to tell where the blood that covers the cross ends and theblood that covers our sins begins.”

Franklin covers his face with his hat as he holds the cross,looking up only once every so often to take in his surroundingsbefore humbly lowering his eyes again.

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“It’s because this is not about me, it’s about Jesus,” he said.”People ask me why I do this and I tell them it’s all for Hisglory.”

Stopping through Brookhaven on his way down to LouisianaTuesday, he said while he doesn’t know local statistics, he knowsthat nationally, 80 percent of people will not attend church.

“But that 80 percent is here on the roads, and this is where Ican reach them,” he said.

The cross he carries, made of cedar 4x4s and spray painted red,is one of his few possessions. He carries it from town to town inhis truck.

Hospitable people in each town he visits put him up for thenight, or give him money for food and lodging. Franklin’s is trulya life based on faith.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be here,” he said. “Sometimes it’sone night, sometimes it’s as long as three weeks.”

Now non-denominational, Franklin said in his 58 years, he haspastored four successful churches in Florida. But he doesn’t wantto discuss that now.

“Ninety-six percent of the preachers out there are speaking to20 percent of the people of the world,” he said. “This is where thepeople are, the ones who are not hearing the word.”

Franklin’s ministry began at a revival service several years agowhen he said God spoke to him and told him to reach the entirecity.

He told the Lord, “I’m no Billy Graham.” He said God told him tobe quiet and listen and God would show him what to do.

Skeptics might say a ministry on a street corner really doesn’taffect the public, but Franklin disagrees.

“People come up and ask me about it and it gives me a chance totell them the good news,” he said. “I’m just blessed God can use meas His tool. That’s why none of this is about me, it’s aboutHim.”

Franklin said he’s been invited to take his message to churchesand schools all over the country, and has even been invitedoverseas. That being said, he still goes where God leads hisheart.

And he has made national news with his endeavors, appearing onFOX News, ABC, CBS, NBC Nightly News and many other print andbroadcast venues.

“The blood of Christ is the only antidote for the deadliestpandemic in the history of the human race, which is sin,” hesaid.