“When Jesus goes through
He take Cudjo through”

The Christian testimony of the last living slave who crossed the ocean on a slave boat.

Upon graduation from college in 1933, I went directly to Mobile, Alabama, to begin my ministry of evangelism. Upon my arrival, one of my dearest friends, who had graduated earlier and now lived there, wanted to show me the sights.

He asked if I had seen Cudjo. I asked, "What is that?" He answered, "Cudjo is not a what but a who." I then inquired, "Who is that?"

My friend explained that Cudjo was the only black man still living who had crossed the ocean on a slave boat.

I assured my friend that I wanted to see this man, so we drove out to his little cabin situated on a little knoll just outside the city limits. As we approached, we could see Cudjo sitting on the porch, rocking. He stood up as we approached. With a big smile on his face, he assured us we were welcome. He was a stately man with hair and beard as white as snow.

After a long visit, we prepared to leave. I asked Cudjo if he was saved. He assured me that he was, and I asked him how he knew. He said he was a good man. I assured him that he could be a good man and not be saved.

He replied, "Oh, the preacher wants me to tell him why I know I saved."

"Yes," I said, "that is what I want to know: how do you know you are saved?"

He said, "Cudjo show you why he know." He looked around until he found a little piece of string; then taking a handkerchief out of his pocket he held it up and tried to push the string through it. He looked at my friend and said, "Can you push string through handkerchief?" My friend assured him he couldn’t....He looked at me, and I shook my head. Then he said, "President of United States, biggest man in world, smartest man in world, he can’t push it through!" We assured him that the President couldn’t do it either. Then he said, "Cudjo can push it through." We asked him how he would do it. He said, "Cudjo get a needle. He put string in needle. He push needle through and string come through with it."

Then his eyes filled with tears as he lifted his face toward Heaven. As I looked into that tear-stained face, I felt I had never seen a man closer to God than old Cudjo Lewis, over a hundred years old, the last living slave who crossed the ocean on a slave boat. (An interview with Cudjo was later published in Literary Digest.) He said, "Jesus is the Needle; Cudjo is the string; Cudjo is in Jesus, and when Jesus goes through He take Cudjo through."

I said, "Praise God! If I live to be a thousand years old, I will never hear it any plainer than that."

If you are in Christ, you have life. "He that hath the Son hath life." I John 5:12

—Told by Fred Brown


Liberty Prison Ministries

Photo of Cudjo Lewis: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/lewis-kossola-cudjo-c-1841-1935

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