“I went to a school in India run by catholic nuns. During my schooling, although I was taught morals (for which I’m thankful), I learned nothing about the Person of Jesus Christ — that He is fully God who came in human flesh 2000 years ago — and His finished work of substitutionary death on the cross for our sins and His subsequent resurrection from the dead, all in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies which were written centuries before He was born in Bethlehem of Judea in Israel. Thus I reached Class Eight, in total ignorance of the Bible that contains this wonderful message of salvation. By then my vague and confused personal belief was that all things come by chance via the random process of evolution and that physical death forever ends the existence of a person. I had no idea of my absolute accountability to God nor of the eternal misery that awaited my Christ-less soul.
At school I had been a relatively good student securing desirable grades. I was, I suppose, even liked by most of my peers and teachers. Generally, I felt good about myself that I was not like others who did many unseemly things openly and unashamedly.
One day, we were singing a hymn during mass in school:
I love to tell the story,
Of unseen things above;
Of Jesus and His Glory,
Of Jesus and His Love!
No doubt the hymn had been sung many times before. But that day the words stirred my heart. I had first recognized and acknowledged my innate sinfulness one year before my grandfather was hospitalized. Now I realized the plain declaration of the Bible, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I also read, though I did not right then believe, the wonderful words of the Gospel, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). My friend explained that God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ, suffered and paid for the penalty of our sins by means of His death on the cross, and that if we believe in Jesus Christ we would be saved from the everlasting punishment that we deserve as sinners, quoting from the Bible, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Multitude of thoughts carried me late into the night. One Bible verse cited in the letter troubled me most: “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and He that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). I had two opposing thoughts warring within me: First, how could the Bible be possibly true when millions in India have never even heard the name of Jesus? Second, if the Bible is in fact true then I must suffer everlasting punishment for my sins. Thus, on the one hand, I did not want to accept the possibility that the Bible may be true; on the other hand, I simply could not shake off the possibility that the Bible, after all, may indeed be true! I just did not have the facts to make an honest judgment let alone “believe” anything.
Suddenly, I was craving for answers to a host of questions. Who is Jesus? Why should I believe in Him? What does it mean to believe in Him? Why should only Christians go to heaven? Why not Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims? Who is Jesus Christ? Is He just a man-made figure, as the demigods in Hindu mythology, or is He a real Person? If what the Bible says is true, I am lost indeed and in danger of eternal damnation. But is it true? How can I know for sure?
I began to ask around with the sincere desire to find out what was the truth concerning Jesus Christ. But, to my surprise, no one I asked was sure nor did anyone seem concerned. That itself was a revelation for me. II became certain for the first time that Jesus Christ was indeed a real historical Person and not a myth. In one of the dormitory lounges I came across a Bible someone had apparently discarded. I also found in another place a copy of the Gospel of John. I would read and think for hours whenever I was alone. I became convinced that the Bible is a historically accurate document however ancient. I now knew that Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross almost 2000 years ago while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea in Palestine but that Jesus Christ was innocent. I also knew that Jesus Christ had made the unmistakable claim that He was the eternal Son of God; that He became a man to sacrificially give His life as the only sufficient payment for the sins of every individual person of entire human history; that personal, explicit faith in Him is the only hope for a person to be saved from the eternal consequences of sin.
And I was struck by the unique event of history, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, three days after His death and burial. Mohammed’s tomb remains occupied, Confucius did not rise from the dead, Buddha’s corporeal remains were distributed. But over five hundred eye-witnesses saw Jesus Christ, many touched Him and conversed with Him for forty days after His definite death and burial. Surely, He is not just a moral teacher or religious leader. He is more. If Jesus in no uncertain terms claimed to be equal with God, would not relegating to Him the title of a mere man, no matter how great a man, be tantamount to accusing Him of being a fraud? And surely, no fraud could be rightly called a good man. Therefore, He must be what He claimed to be for who would dare call Jesus a liar? The more I read, the more I wondered why anyone would not become a Christian.
From that day on in late October 2007, I have known what it is to be a child of God, what it is to be a sinner save by grace and mercy. Grace, because though I deserve nothing, I have all things: forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, fellowship with God, everlasting life, inheritance in Heaven that will never fade away and much more! Mercy, because though I deserve everlasting punishment, I know He has saved me from the coming judgement wrath of God because when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He actually bore the wrath of God in my stead and for the whole world.”
– Pavitra Viswanath
‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”Jeremiah 29:12-13