Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 19, 2020

Remembering Ravi Zacharias


Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias died at his home in Atlanta this morning after a brief battle with a rare form of cancer. He was 74.

Born in India, Ravi was a skeptic. He came to faith in Christ in a hospital in New Delhi after a failed suicide attempt at the age of 17. While recovering, Ravi heard seven words from the Gospel of John that changed the trajectory of his life: “Because I live, you also will live” (14:19).

Ravi surrendered his life to Christ and said that if he emerged from the hospital, he would leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth. His obituary notes that once Ravi “found the truth of the gospel, his passion for sharing it burned bright until the very end.”

Later reflecting on his decision to follow Christ, Ravi wrote:

“I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to Him a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny.”

When he was a boy, Ravi’s mother took him to a local palm reader who told him, “Looking at your future, Ravi Baba, you will not travel far or very much in your life,” he declared. “That’s what the lines on your hand tell me. There is no future for you abroad.”

Perhaps that might have been the case had Ravi not come to faith in Christ. But, Jesus changes everything, and He did so for Ravi. After coming to faith in Christ, Ravi began his itinerant preaching ministry in India, growing in his reputation as a brilliant speaker and apologist.

At the age of 37, at the invitation of Billy Graham, Ravi preached to the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983. That meeting launched Ravi into the international spotlight where he quickly gained a reputation as one of the foremost defenders of Christianity’s intellectual credibility.

In 1984, Ravi founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), with the mission of “helping the thinker believe and the believer think.” The goal of his organization is “to touch both the heart and the intellect of the thinkers and influencers in society by tackling some of the toughest questions about faith and providing thoughtful answers.” In addition to his speaking ministry, Ravi’s books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Ravi extended his ministry through his weekly radio program, “Let My People Think.” He explored issues such as the credibility of the Christian message and the Bible, the weakness of modern intellectual movements, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Today, Ravi’s radio program is syndicated to over 2,000 stations in 32 countries and has also been downloaded 15.6 million times as a podcast over the last year.

What I admired most about Ravi was the way in which he engaged with skeptics, atheists, and those who embraced other worldviews. He lived the words of 1 Peter 3:15, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

Ravi was always a gentleman when engaged in debates with the world’s leading skeptics. His family said: “He saw the objections and questions of others not as something to be rebuffed, but as a cry of the heart that had to be answered. People weren’t logical problems waiting to be solved; they were people who needed the person of Christ.”

There is a lot that we can learn from Ravi. He was a brilliant man. But beyond that, he was a passionate and devoted follower of Christ who loved and cared deeply about the spiritual welfare of others. To his final day, he was actively speaking about Jesus with his caretakers. And before he drew his final breath, he said, “But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, and I shall be with Him.”

Thank you, Ravi. Death has not silenced your voice. In the words of the Psalmist (30:9), your dust will continue to tell the world of God’s faithfulness.


Responses

  1. I mourn with many thousands of others the loss of this great apologist and consummate gentleman. Although he will undoubtedly hear “Well done” very shortly, my brother-by-birth reminded me that every believer will be just as joyously received into the kingdom of Heaven. What an amazing promise!

  2. A beautiful tribute of a great man of God.

  3. It is sad and happy at the same time, he is with the Lord!!! On our men bible study we are reading one of his book, we definitely like him!!!

    • Glad you are studying one of his books, Carlos. His ministry will continue through his writing.


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