During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection from Tuesday through Friday.
‘Because I Live, You Also Will Live’
With these words, Jesus Christ saved Ravi Zacharias when he was 17 years old.
Ravi Zacharias, an evangelist and Christian apologist, died of cancer on May 19, 2020, after crossing the globe for more than 50 years proclaiming Jesus Christ. The first time I ever heard him and heard of him was when he was speaking on his radio program, ‘Let My People Think.’
That was his main concern – to connect the gospel with the life of the mind. The basic aim of his life-long ministry was to “help the thinker believe and the believer think.”
He wanted to show that Christianity makes rational sense on the one hand, and is able to offer deeply satisfying existential answers to life’s big questions on the other. It is both reasonable and liveable. (Alister McGrath, “Ravi Zacharias (1946–2020) and His Legacy,” May 19, 2020)
Ravi Zacharias grew up in India in a nominal Christian home. He did not know the Lord. He was not familiar with the Bible. An ache and a loneliness ate away at his life in his teen years. He confesses that his life was a like a leaf blowing in the wind. He was a very confused and angry young man. His life was endangered by a very violent father who battered him in fits of fury.
As a 17-year-old high school student, Ravi had come to a point of no hope. There was no tomorrow to live for, and today felt worthless. At his sister’s urging he attended a local Youth for Christ event where he heard Sam Wolgemuth preach from John 3:16 and Fred David singing “There is a Balm in Gilead.” He was moved by the Gospel, but his life continued to spiral downwards.
One day he stole several packets of poison from his school’s science lab and walked home. Then, when nobody was home except a servant, he locked himself into the bathroom, emptied the packets into a cup, filled it water and drank it down.
But his body couldn’t handle it and he began to retch uncontrollably. The servant heard the noise, broke down the bathroom door, saw Ravi on the floor, and got him to a hospital.
That’s where the Lord Jesus met him. Guess who came to visit him? It was Fred David, the man he heard singing at the Youth for Christ rally. Fred opened his Bible to John 14 where Jesus is talking to his disciples and said to them, “Because I live you also will live.” (John 14:19)
With these words, Jesus came to Ravi Zacharias on his suicidal hospital bed and changed his life. He later wrote: “With these words Jesus breathed eternal life into my broken body…it was a passage of Scripture that sprouted in the moisture of God’s sovereign grace.”
He cried out to the Lord, “If You are whom you claim to be, rescue me, and I will leave no stone unturned to pursue the truth.“ He trusted in Jesus Christ, became right with God, and spent the rest of his life in the confidence that in Christ his life was filled with meaning and purpose.
The key was that now I looked at life through a window of meaning. And that was the one thing I had been desperately longing for: meaning. Now everything in my life was packed with it: my studies had meaning, my family had meaning, my friendships had meaning, my sports had meaning.Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again: Through the Eyes of God”
In spite of the complexities of the worldview issues he addressed, Ravi confessed to being a simple person who lived by the simple belief that there is no answer to the meaning of life other than the Person of Jesus Christ. That is the message he brought to king’s palaces, atheistic universities, Christian conferences, and the poor villages of India.
It is the message that saved his father too and transformed him from an angry, violent man to a gentle and loving husband and father.
Jesus said, “Because I live you also will live.” (John 14:19) This is the good news of Jesus Christ. He saves sinners, rescues the suicidal, fills the empty, softens the violent, gives hope to the hopeless, and meaning to the restless. Jesus is life for the dying.
Jesus came to destroy death and to bring life. He did that by dying on the cross to destroy our sin, and then coming back to life again by His own divine power. And because He lives forever, in Him you also will live forever. In His death your sin and death are conquered. In His life your life is headed for glory. Your life is now an investment into eternity, and every day, every moment is overflowing with meaning and purpose.
If you are in a place of despair, if your life is without meaning and hope, a pointless investment of time and energy, I urge you to seek Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. He will meet you in His power and mercy. He will breathe new life into your dead spirit. He will make everything new. He will make you whole. He will bring you to God.
Jesus said, “Because I live you also will live.” (John 14:19)