Passion City Church
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Pastor Giglio, Governor Kemp, Secretary Perdue, Secretary Carson, Senator Scott, honored guests, members of the RZIM team, to all those looking on across America and across the world, and especially to Margie, Sarah, Naomi, Nathan, and the entire Zacharias family: It is deeply humbling for my wife, Karen, and me to be here, among so many friends and distinguished leaders, to give thanks for the life and legacy of Ravi Zacharias.
The Bible says “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted,” and that is our prayer for you on this day and in all the long days that lie ahead.
Yesterday, President Trump said, by “making the intellectual case for Christianity, Ravi Zacharias was instrumental in helping millions of people around the world come to know the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.” And so on behalf of the First Family, our family, and a grateful nation, Karen and I offer our deepest sympathies to your family and to all, like us, who had the privilege to know and cherish this good man, this godly man, this man for all seasons.
On the death of Abner, King David said, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?” Ravi Zacharias was such a man. And like so many gathered here, and so many looking on from afar, he was my friend. And as I had the privilege to share with Margie just a few short days ago, God put him at my side at just the right time, with a word wisdom and kindness and encouragement that I’ll never forget.
And so while it is my great privilege to be here today to speak on behalf of so many Americans, Karen and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss as well. And we thank you for the privilege to be here.
And, of course, his passing comes at a time when so many families here and around the world are grieving the loss of loved ones who have succumbed amidst the coronavirus epidemic. As our nation begins the process of healing and recovering, we will miss Ravi’s comforting voice and his insights as we pick up the pieces of our national life and move forward.
And during our last conversation from his hospital bed, not surprisingly, Ravi was more concerned for those who were struggling in the midst of this pandemic than he was for himself.
So I know Ravi would approve if, on this day, we also made a point to remember and pray for all who have endured heartbreak during these unprecedented times.
So for his family and families around America and around the world grieving the loss of a loved one, let’s all pray that those who mourn will be comforted with the absolute assurance that he had: that the day will come when God will wipe away every tear from your eyes and theirs, and in every sense, in these challenging times, that He will heal our land.
Ravi Zacharias’s story has been an inspiration to millions of people. On a bed of suicide at 17, void of needing, emptied of hope, he opened a Bible and he read the words that are now displayed on the wall outside this church: “Because I live, you shall live also.” And lying on that hospital bed, he opened his heart and his life to Jesus Christ, now to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of the truth. And, that, he surely did.
In the book of Isaiah, the word says, “I took you from the ends of the Earth. From its farthest corners, I called you.” And so it was for Ravi Zacharias. Over the past five decades, called from that hospital bed, Ravi’s voice and ministry impacted countless lives, transformed and strengthened people all over America and all over the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ravi Zacharias was a man of faith who could rightly handle the word of truth like few others in our time. And he will be missed. His travels would take him to stand in venues that were oftentimes unfriendly and unwelcoming. But he’d always answer the arguments of the skeptic or the cynic, giving the reason for the hope that he had, but doing so with gentleness and respect, recognizing at the other end of the question was always a person made in the image of God.
Ravi said, and I quote, “I have reminded myself over the years to never forget that behind every question is a questioner. And behind every questioner is a network of assumptions, hurts, struggles, and often prejudices.” He spoke truth, he spoke with kindness and a deep and abiding care for every person who would listen.
On the death of Billy Graham, a little more than two years ago, Ravi remarked, and I quote, “A great voice has been lost, but the message goes on.” And those two things are just as true today.
In the late Reverend Billy Graham, it’s been observed that God gave us the greatest Evangelist of the 20th century. In Ravi Zacharias, God gave us the greatest Christian Apologist of this century. (Applause.)
He was the C.S. Lewis of our day. Crisscrossed the globe to every Mars Hill he could find, to answer skeptics, move obstacles of unbelief, armed with intellect, girded with truth and love.
And what he said on that day two years ago is just as true today: The work of RZIM will go on. (Applause.)
When giants fall, the impact is felt near and far. So it was in Atlanta, around America and around the world on May the 19th, when this gentle giant of the faith, on whose shoulders so many of us have leaned, was with us no more.
So we mourn with those who mourn, and we grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope. Because by faith, we believe that Jesus lives. And by faith, we know that Ravi lives also. (Applause.)
Ravi Zacharias fought the good fight. He finished the race. He kept the faith and clung to the power of the cross in the empty grave. And now we know there is laid up for him a crown, which the Lord will reward to him on that day.
May God bless the memory of Ravi Zacharias. May God comfort his precious family as they mourn the passing of this good and great man. And may God grant us all the grace to walk forward with hearts full of gratitude for the life that we honor today: a life that, just a few short days ago — and a man who undoubtedly heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Thank you, Ravi. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. God bless you. (Applause.)