Ravi Zacharias is no stranger to most Christians. He is one of the most distinguished apologists of the Christian faith. Author of many books including the Gold Medallion winner Can Man Live Without God?, he is erudite and eloquent. Recently, Malaysian Christians were given the rare opportunity to come and listen from him and his ministry.
People turned up as early as an hour before the session. From conversations with some among the massive crowd, many shared that this was a dream come true for them. Previously they have listened to Ravi expound on the Christian faith on channels through the Internet, but this was the first time many could listen to him teach in person.
Zacharias is well-known for his coherent worldview. He has often stated that such a worldview must be able to answer four fundamental questions; the origin of life, the meaning of life, morality and destiny. All worldviews, whether theistic or nontheistic, search for the answers to these questions.
Furthermore, when all the questions of humanity are boiled down to their essence, all of them can be broadly categorised into searches for love, justice, forgiveness, and hope. These are the four fundamental questions and the four fundamental searches of humanity and the answer to all of them can be found on the cross.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the devil launched three attacks at Him; on the mind, the emotion, and the will. This is the pattern of the work of the enemy and Christ has showed us how He has conquered over all three attempts. It is why it is important to let our whole mind be constantly renewed through the word of God.
But besides Ravi Zacharias himself, Nabeel also shared a comprehensive message about the power of the Gospel. This word Gospel was carefully chosen and it has antecedents even in the Roman Empire. The word in its full connotation and relevance for our faith has a two-fold meaning. It proclaims the coming of the King who lives among His people, and the Saviour who is going to defeat our enemy satan at the end of days.
Nabeel conveyed that in order to understand the Gospel we need to look at it in the context of the continuation of the Old Testament because all Scripture is in fact a single flow, originating from a single God. At the beginning of everything, there was only one Being. But this Being has already existed in a triune relationship.
The Father loves the Son and the Spirit, the Son loves the Father and the Spirit, the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. So God, the only Being that has existed from the beginning, was already at the beginning internally Love. This is why Scripture has stated that God is Love and He has always existed as Love.
Out of the Love, God created the world. This is something that is very powerful; it is what helps the world to flourish, relationships blossom and grow. When a parent loves a child, the child will grow up strong and wise. When we love our work, our work will be productive. When we love people, relationships strengthen and leave legacies. All this is made possible in our world because God has woven into the fabric of Creation, Love. This is also why the greatest commandments for the Children of God is to love; to love our God with all our being and to love others as ourselves, even our enemies and those who persecute us.
Out of His Love, God calls us to Him and over and over again, He dwells with us. God walked with Adam and Eve daily in the Garden of Eden, led Abraham faithfully to a new land, wrestled personally with Jacob, was constantly present with the people of the Exodus.
In Isaiah 7 and 9, a prophecy was given, that a Child would be born. God Himself would come to dwell amongst His people, the Emmanuel; God with us. He would live a life among His people, on this earth, and He would show us how to live a holy life. All Creation waited with bated breath and God spoke, and the King came to live among His people..
During His time on Earth, Jesus took 12 normal men, fishermen who were considered low and a tax collector who were despised by the society, and He transformed them. It was a straightforward invitation; ‘Come with Me, follow Me, and as you abide in Me, you will become more and more like me and I’ll send you into this world to do the work that I do.’ He taught them how to live, how to teach, how to heal, how to preach, so that at the end they could go into the ends of the world and make disciples.
Jesus restored and gave hope to people who were seen as without hope; people with leprosy, the woman with the issue of the blood, the blind man, the man at the pool of Bethesda, Jairus who had lost his daughter.. Jesus brought life into this world, and in the same way, He has called us to bring life and light into this world. When we abide in Christ, and the Spirit of God dwells in us, and we are transformed in His image, we have the cure to the world’s sufferings. This is what the Gospel is about but it is not all.
Jesus has come to destroy the work of the enemy. When sin came into the world, death came alongside with it. So now we see a broken world around us, we see wars and famine and plague and we see people taking advantage of one another. We see destruction and corruption and murder, and we wonder why God has not come.
But He has come and He has enabled us to go out and vanquish the work of the enemy. The devil has come to kill and destroy, but where there is death, Christ has now come to bring life, and what the enemy destroyed He will restore. On Calvary, when Christ hung on the cross, it was the worst day in all of history. The Saviour who had come to bring life and into this world now hung with a broken body, put there by the world He had come to restore.
But out of that darkness, came the defeat of the power of death itself. Christ’s resurrection three days later took away the sting of death and it has become but a doorway into an eternity of joy with our Maker. Death has lost its sting, the enemy will be vanquished decisively at the end of days, and we have a security today in Christ Jesus.
This is the power of the Gospel; that the Creator loved us enough to choose to live among His people, that He has empowered His people to be part of the work He’s doing, and that the enemy has already in fact been defeated.
NOTE: This write-up is meant to be approached from the standpoint of a general event coverage. It has not been vetted by either Ravi or Nabeel or the church and is not meant to be taken as an extensive message article.
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