WHEN THE LOVING-TO-BE-YOUNG JESUS MET YOUNG PEOPLE Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

young peopleJesus loved being “young”, like most of us do – the time of our lives when our prettiness/handsomeness is at an Himalayan high and our energy-levels at an Everest high. Why did I say that Jesus loved being young? Here’s why – follow the line of my argument carefully: Jesus had the power to choose when he could die (John 10:18); He chose to die when he was in the prime of his youth; He was about 30 when he started his ministry – Luke records (Luke 3:23);  John, the Gospel writer, talks about three Passovers which Jesus took part in (John 2:13; 6:4 and 11:55);  Since the Passover was an annual festival for the Jews (Lev. 23:1-8; I Sam. 1:3, 21), we know Jesus’ ministry on the earth lasted for three years, before he was crucified and buried;  He rose again as a young man, three days later. And he ascended to heaven as a young man of 33;  He sits at the right hand of the Father as a young man;  In all these years, his glorious body has not aged – I believe – because the Bible says “the same” young Jesus whom the disciples ascend into heaven will return back to this earth (Acts 1:11).

 

Young people, Jesus can understand you because he is God who is all knowing. Not just that. He can stand you(th) because he is young even right now!

 

Jesus also loves meeting young people. In his earthly ministry, Jesus met several youth and ministered to them. However, the Gospel writers were moved by the Holy Spirit to give details of Jesus’ interaction with three different youth (only these three persons whom I will refer to are explicitly called ‘youth’).  Let us take a long look at those biblical incidents when Jesus met youth and draw lessons for the youth of today.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COLD YOUNG MAN

 

Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian Fast Bowler, has a nick-name. He is nicknamed “Bootlace Bomber”, because of his ability of bowl yorkers accurately and high speed. Jesus can be given a nick-name. Jesus can be called “the Funeral Spoiler”! He is seen disrupting three funerals at various stages of increasing difficulty – one which took place in a home, the other when the body was being carried from the home to the graveyard and still yet another when the body was buried in the graveyard! He disrupts the funeral of the young man who was being carried to the graveyard. He was the only son of his widowed mother (Luke 7:12). And he was being carried to the grave! This is what happened according to Dr. Luke: He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:14). That young man rose again from the dead and Jesus gave him back to his mother (Luke 7:15).

 

Have you touched dead bodies? I have. I recently touched the dead body of my maternal uncle who passed after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 25 years. Dead bodies are cold. I want to draw an analogy here. Are you cold, spiritually speaking? Are you cold in your love towards the One whose love for you is warm? There was a time when you used to pray for long hours without looking at the clock. There was a time when you would witness without any second thoughts. There was a time when you fled from temptation and enjoyed the fleeing because you knew sin’s pleasures were, at best, fleeting. But not any longer. Now, prayer times have become a drag for you. You do not witness for Jesus at all. And you run towards temptation feeling super-excited. You need to repent. You need to come back to Jesus. You must come back to the “first love” you had for Jesus (Rev. 2:4). Your love for Jesus needs to be warm.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A HALF-COMMITTED YOUNG MAN

Matthew records the conversation of a “young man” (Matt. 19:20,22) of “great wealth” (Matt. 19:22) had with Jesus. He had the right question – “What must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). He wasn’t talking about earthly things but things of eternal value. So, in that sense, he asked the right question. Having read the full Bible we know that we do not have “do” anything to get eternal life. All we need to do to be saved is to believe in the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for us with a truly repentant heart (Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31 – two passages where we read the question of unbelievers, “What shall we do now?”). The rich young man not only asked the right question, he exhibited the right posture. Mark records that this young man “knelt” down before Jesus when he asked that question (Mark 10:17 ESV). This tells me that he respected Jesus and wanted to express that respect by the posture of kneeling.  But the rich young man who asked the right question with the right posture responded wrongly to Jesus. Jesus, who knew everything as God (John 2:25), knew about his greed and love for money problem. So, Jesus touched that aspect of his life in response to his question. But he did not do that in an angry tone. He did it lovingly. Mark records that Jesus looked at this young man and “loved him” as he gave his response to his question (Mark 10:21). Jesus loves young people. But he does not desire that young people stay in their sins – be it pride or porn-watching or peer-pressure yielding or prayerlessness. So he lovingly calls youth to repent – especially of their “pet” sins. If you are given to the secret habit of shooting and sending nude selfies via WhatsApp Jesus would say this to you, looking at you in a loving way: “Yet one thing you lack. Surrender your WhatsApp life to me!” (Read Mark 10:21 to understand what Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler). Here is the message we need to get: Jesus loves us just the way we are, but he won’t leave us that way. He would woo us with his love, wow us with his love. He love when truly experienced will transform our life. But if we keep rejecting his love, a time will surely come when the Holy Sprit may stop talking to us and we will land in eternal hell (Rev. 21:7-8; Gen. 6:3; Romans 1:18-24).

 

So do not be half-committed, when it comes to your commitment with Jesus! The rich young man walked away “sad” when he took a U-turn from Jesus and walked away because he was unwilling to repent of his love of money in a practical way by selling all his possessions, giving what he got to the poor, and following Jesus (join Jesus’ ministry team) [Mark 10:21]. He level of commitment to Jesus was not 100%. He kept some parts of his life for himself, for sin, for Satan. This young man wanted to serve Jesus and Money. And that led to sadness. Double-mindedness leads to delight-loss – this was James’ message (Whoever wavers in his mind is troubled in all his ways – James 1:8, Aramaic Bible in Plain English). Don’t lock a corner of your life secretly to porn by watching nudity via streaming platforms like Netflix. Don’t make room in your heart for a little pride in the name having good self-esteem. Give up “all” sin and surrender your “full” life to Jesus (note Jesus’ stress on the word “all” in his response to the young man who was rich in Mark 10:21). Then, the lasting joy which the young rich man missed will be yours (Mark 10:22; Matt. 19:22). When you surrender your life to Jesus without holding anything back – I repeat without holding anything back – you are sure to experience the joy which the world cannot give, money can’t buy (the rich young ruler should have known this) and Satan cannot take away. I can testify to that!

 

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COWARDLY YOUNG MAN

 

There was a young man who followed Jesus enroute to the Cross. But when the Roman Arrest party closed-in on Jesus he had to choose between suffering with Jesus or scooting from Jesus. He chose the later option, for lack of courage. You can read about him in Mark 14:51 – ‘A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he [v]pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked’ (NASB). When this young man had to choose being naked in public and being nerveless in public, he chose the former. He was a coward. He was curious about Jesus (that why he followed Jesus). But he could not make up him mind to be courageous for Jesus. He was exactly the opposite of John Chou, the young American who went to North Sentinel Islands to proclaim Jesus, pretty well knowing that his life was at risk at the hands of the untamed, javelin-wielding, tribal people who lived there in 2018. He sure lost his life. But great will be reward on the other side of eternity. Do you know in the list of people who will go to hell even “cowards” are mentioned? (Rev. 21:7-8). The book of Revelation was written as an encouragement for people who were being persecuted. The message of that book is simple: “Endure”. Revelation 13:10b read this way: ‘Here is a call for the perseverance and faith of the saints.’ Revelation 14:12’s message is also the same: ‘This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.’ When Revelation 21:7-8 places even the ‘cowardly’ in the list of people who will go to hell, we understand this way: those who repeated, stubbornly, deny Jesus through their words and actions for the fear of a repercussion (repercussions like ‘my friends will make fun of me, if I refuse to drink along with them’, ‘if I say no to sex when this girl is offering it offering to me, she will think I am not even a man!’, ‘if I question my pastor about this false teaching he is preaching, he will not have me on stage as a worship leader in this church’, etc) are in the real danger of going to eternal hell.

 

So, in your campus life, show people that you have a backbone. In your corporate office, let people know that out of that popularity contest. Live for Jesus courageously!

Note: This article was published in the August 2019 issue of Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India.

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time. He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call to by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served as a pastor/missionary/editor. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]).

HOW GOVERNOR FELIX TRIED TO FIX HIS EMPTY LIFE WITH HONEY, MONEY & POPULARITY; HOW WE ARE ALSO LIKE HIM – Duke Jeyaraj

felixI try to read one chapter from the Book of Acts everyday as we are living in the days when the book of Acts can be relived. I try to read the chapter from that book which correlates with the day of the month. Today  being July 24 2019 I read Acts 24. Some thoughts kept flowing as I chewed that passage. Shall I share them?

Paul kept in custody meets Felix, the ruler. Felix has a vacuum which is tries to fill with three things:

1. Honey – his vacuum he filled with his newly-acquired honey named “Drusilla” (Acts 24:24). Druscilla was not a single girl from Brasilia! She was an already-married woman Felix stole and made his wife. You think if you have that girl, that boy in your life, life will be meaningful and happy. You are wrong. Life’s purpose cannot be found in the discovery of any human.

2. Money – While the ‘judgment’ messages of Paul (Acts 24:25) put him off, Felix was after a possible ‘payment’ which Paul could have given (a bribe). But Paul did not budge. After he won the US Open, Pat Rafter said, “When I did not have it – I wanted it. Now that I have it – I do not want it!” US Open offers the biggest prize money among the Grand Slams in Tennis.  Money cannot fill the vacuum in your heart.

3. Popularity – To ensure that would  continue to be a popular ruler in a Jews-dominated area he continuted to keep Paul, who was perceived as an enemy of the Jews as he was the preacher to the Gentiles, in lockup (Acts 24:26).  After he won another edition of the World Formula One Championships, the greatly popular Michael Shumi said, “I am empty. I am exhausted.” Popularity can never plug the vacuum in your heart. Popular Amitabh Bachan talked about the fear of not being recognized in one of his interviews.

But honey, money and popularity will not plug the vacuum in your heart. Only Jesus – the only sinless one – can! Sin causes the vacuum in the soul and only Jesus did not have that vacuum. And he went to the Cross to shed his blood. From his shed blood a door for forgiveness of sins is opened. When we repent from sin and trust in the living Jesus our sins will be forgiven and the vacuum in the heart will be gone!!!! Why are you still waiting to do that?

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.)

MARTYRDOM-READY BELIEVERS IN A 5G-INTERNET-SPEED-FOLD-YOUR-PHONE-READY WORLD – Duke Jeyaraj

POLYCARPThis morning (22 July 2019) when I went to get the newspaper in a shop in Diamond Point, Secunderabad, I witnessed a march by school students in memory of the Kargil Martyrs. They walked shouting slogans of respect for the Kargil Martyrs.

The Bible is clear when it calls believers to die for Christ if there is a need to do so. None of us will enjoy dying. But none of us should be scarred of dying for Christ’s sake.

Jesus’ call for martyrdom comes from John 12:24 – Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:23 records that these were the words of Jesus.

Apostle Paul, the person who kept saying we must follow Christ as he followed Christ using various phrases atleast five different times in the New Testament as he was inspired by the Spirit to do so was willing to die for Christ. We read these his brave words in Acts 21:13 – Then Paul answered (a group of five prophets who prophesied that he should not go to Jerusalem and preach about Jesus because that would land him in great danger), “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible was complaining that there weren’t enough brave people in the church he wrote to who chose Martyrdom when he wrote, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4).

My favorite Christian Martyr is Polycarp. His martyrdom was the first prominent one after the completion of the New Testament. I recommend that you watch the 2015 Movie Polycarp – you, your family, your church. I watched it with my family and a small group I taught God’s Word to. I stopped at strategic points in his life to draw spiritual lessons during that movie.

Here is the gripping report of the martyrdom of Polycarp by Christianity Today website:

‘Polycarp had been a Christian since he was a child, but the Romans didn’t get around to killing him until he was in his eighties. Whatever the reason for the delay, it is still the first recorded martyrdom in post-New Testament church history. Such traits are especially evident in the account of his martyrdom, which was written within a year of his death. It is not clear exactly why he was suddenly, at age 86, subject to arrest, but when he heard Roman officials were intent on arresting him, he decided to wait for them at home. Panic-stricken friends pleaded with him to flee, so to calm them, he finally agreed to withdraw to a small estate outside of town. But while in prayer there, he received some sort of vision. Whatever he saw or heard, we don’t know. He simply reported to his friends that he now understood, “I must be burned alive.” Roman soldiers eventually discovered Polycarp’s whereabouts and came to his door. When his friends urged him to run, Polycarp replied, “God’s will be done,” and he let the soldiers in.’

‘He was escorted to the local proconsul, Statius Quadratus, who interrogated him in front of a crowd of curious onlookers. Polycarp seemed unfazed by the interrogation; he carried on a witty dialogue with Quadratus until Quadratus lost his temper and threatened Polycarp: he’d be thrown to wild beasts, he’d be burned at the stake, and so on. Polycarp just told Quadratus that while the proconsul’s fire lasts but a little while, the fires of judgment (“reserved for the ungodly,” he slyly added) cannot be quenched. Polycarp concluded, “But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.”’

‘Soldiers then grabbed him to nail him to a stake, but Polycarp stopped them: “Leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved, without the security you desire from nails.” He prayed aloud, the fire was lit, and his flesh was consumed. The chronicler of this martyrdom said it was “not as burning flesh but as bread baking or as gold and silver refined in a furnace.”’

‘The account concluded by saying that Polycarp’s death was remembered by “everyone”—”he is even spoken of by the heathen in every place.”’

Should there be a rule in our land that we should not worship Christ or follow him or share his love, what would you do?

Would we respond like Peter and the apostles did in a similar situation: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) – would we boldly say that to those who persecute us?

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” – that’s what the persecuted apostles did (Acts 5:41-42). And would we make Acts 5:41-42 a reality in our lives in case there is persecution in our world?

One small way we as a ministry show that we are not afraid of persecution is by distributing tracts. We still choose a spot and give tracts in that spot once a month. My joy knows no bounds whenever a new team member would say: “This is the first time I giving a gospel tract!” I tell myself, “Even if I were to die and be with Jesus, this wave of fearless witnessing will continue till the return of Christ!”

Mobile companies are preparing the world to be 5G super-fast internet speed-ready world where your 5G enabled phones can be folded! They are preparing mobile handsets that will be 5G ready. Huawei Mate X –  a phone that can be folded – is one such phone. As believers, I write this article with a passion to see martyrdom-ready believers.

MATE X

(Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time! He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events, instead. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call  by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served formerly as a pastor with a large denomination/missionary with a large organisation/employee of HSBC Global Resourcing. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher/author since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home – a town from where Duke has travelled by invitation to over 15 Indian States and to a few countries to preach God’s Word. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout http://www.dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], http://www.soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and http://www.youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]. G4 Mission is a listener/reader/viewer supported Indian ministry.)

 

THE SEE-SAW BATTLE LIKE WE HAVE NEVER SEEN – Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo on the heart-stopping World Cup Final 2019 / England V New Zealand on 14 July 2019 in the Lords Cricket Ground London

ben stokes

Life is like a see-saw game. Perhaps there was no better see-saw game than the 2019 World Cup Final. England and New Zealand played the World’s greatest ever One Day International – an incredible sine-curve game. Vic Marks wrote this about this game: “This was the most astonishing, fortuitous, preposterous climax to any cricket match I’ve witnessed, let alone a World Cup final.” He was right.

For some time, England seemed to win. During some other times, New Zealand seemed to win. New Zealand created pressure. England got out of it. Repeat. Till your heart-beat almost stops.

When New Zealand won the toss and batted first, it looked like New Zealand had the upper hand. Nicholls and Williamson were going great with their team at 103 for 1 in the 23rd Over. That’s when one of seemingly innocuous delivery of Liam Plunkett caught the faintest of edges of Williamson’s bat. He was out caught behind. The captain who had scored the most runs in a World Cup edition was gone. If this duo had continued a score of 300 was a possibility. But they ended by at 241 – thanks to Jofra Archer’s superb death bowling. His last two overs went like this: 111000110111. Advantage England.

When England chased 242, New Zealand kept creating pressure. If-he-bats-till-twenty-overs-then-game-over Jason Roy got out. Out-of-sorts Joe Root got out. Not-the-usual-self Jonny Baristow got out. Maximum-sixes-in-a-single-ODI Eion Morgan got out. At 4 for 86 in the 24th Over, England were in serious trouble. Advantage New Zealand, now. That’s when Jos Buttler joined Ben Stokes. Their 100-plus stand threatened to take the game away from New Zealand. The blue-eyed Buttler was giving the Blackcaps the blues! But in the 45 over Lockie Ferguson struck. He had Buttler spoon a catch. New Zealand were back in the game. Advantage New Zealand. When England needed 22 off nine balls they were in a similar situation like India were in the semi-finals with Dhoni on strike. Like Dhoni did, Stokes hit the ball in the air. Let Akash Sarkar take over: “As the equation slipped to 22 off 9, Stokes slammed one Neesham delivery wide of long-on. Trent Boult settled under it and took a clean catch. There was more drama though as the pacer then took a step back and stepped on the rope to give England crucial six more. In hindsight, the game was lost there by the visitors.” Advantage England, now. In the final over with 9 runs needed off 4 balls, Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep deflected of Stokes’ bat (without Stokes deliberately doing the deflecting so much so the English fans named the event the “The Bat of God” after Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal versus England in a Football World Cup). The ball went to the boundary. Umpire Dharmasena signaled a 6. 2 runs plus 4 for overthrows. Advantage England there. With 3 needed of 2, Trent Boult and the nerveless Kiwis pushed the game to a SuperOver – thanks to some nerveless boundary riding. In the Super Over, with England making 15 runs – thanks to a boundary each by Buttler and Stokes – New Zealand had to score 16 runs to win the game having scored lesser boundaries than England. England’s SuperOver bowler Jofra Archer (called Prophet Jofra as he had tweeted 16 off 6 via Twitter way back in 2014) started with a wide and conceded an early six to Jimmy Neesham. It is now 7 off 4 for New Zealand. Not tough to do. Advantage New Zealand. Later it was 5 off 3. Neesham could not hit a six and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball. He managed a two. It was 3 of 2, now. Neesham could not hit a four and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball.  In the penultimate ball, Neesham takes a single and puts Guptill on strike for the last ball. Yes, Jofra Archer pulled things back after a poor start and brought it down to 2 off 1 ball. Martin Guptill instead of swinging for the hills, tried to work it around. Though the throw from Jason Roy was not accurate Jos Buttler collected the ball and whipped the bails without wasting time to catch the man who caught Dhoni out of his crease in the Semis, Guptill, outside his crease. The Cup was England’s. For the first time! The greatest ODI had come to an end.

Ups and downs – are not just part of the Greatest ODI – but also our lives. It was part of Apostle Paul’s life. He writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12). In the same chapter we read of a minister of the Gospel being killed and another minister of the Gospel rescued from certain death. I am talking about Acts 12. I am talking about James (dead) and Peter (rescued) here. Some women received back their dead in Hebrews 11. Some were sawed/cut with sharp metal into two in Hebrews 11. Glamour and Gloom were pinned together in one Bible chapter. Yes, highs and lows can be joined together, inter-twined together in one life, no matter how dedicated for the Lord that life is. Ask Job. Job 1 recorded the lows and Job 42 the highs.  There was a time when the lip-smacking grapes crowned the vines in Prophet Habakkuk’s garden. There was a time – just before the Babylonian invasion – that they were no grapes in his garden and the prophet felt gobsmacked (astonished) at what God allowed to happen to his children (Hab 3:17). But Habakkuk decided rejoice in God his Savior without batting an eyelid. That’s what ultimately matters.

There was a slip between the cup and the lip for Kane Williamson. So near, yet so far. One reason could have inexplicable duck and leave by Michael Santner when he faced the last ball of the New Zealand’s regular innings by Jofra Archer. This was the same guy who hit a last ball six for CSK in the 2019 IPL, mind you. Santner could have put bat on ball and picked up any run(s) that came by, who knows, the World Cup would be New Zealand’s! What a massive miss! John Bunyan wrote in the classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress, “Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven.” So we must have an A to Z commitment when it comes to Christian Commitment. A, for Abide (John 15:4 – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me) to Z for Zeal (Rom.  12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord). Unless we persevere – enabled by grace – we will perish. When we “keep ourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21) he will “keep us from falling and present us without fault in his glorious presence on that day” (Jude 24).

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Duke’s articles are hosted at http://www.dukewords.com. Watch Duke at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

 

 

THREE DUCKS IN THEIR BIGGEST ODI GAME & OUR “DUCK” WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION – Duke Jeyaraj brings out a spiritual truth from the Bible starting with an event from the World Cup Cricket Final 2015

mccullum

Andrew Ramsey wrote the following line about Brendon McCullum’s 3-ball duck in the World Cup Final 2015 versus Australia in Melbourne before 90,000 plus people: “If two successive air swings were not sufficient to alert McCullum to the peril that Starc posed, the third ensured the visiting captain’s World Cup Final batting memories will be brief, bitter and bereft of any contact between bat and ball.” Later in the New Zealand innings, two other batsmen, Corey Anderson (one time record holder for the fastest ODI hundred) and Luke Ronchi (whose ODI highest score is 170 runs) also recorded ducks. Three of the cleanest ball-strikers in the Kiwi line-up scored ducks in their biggest ever ODI game.

Ducks. Zeroes. These words reminds me of our score when we compare it with the score of God’s score when it comes to purity: it is nought. We have ALL sinned and fallen short of His glory, the Bible records (Rom. 3:23). In other words: we have a duck across our name when it comes to salvation. We can’t make it heaven with our merit. We cannot save ourselves through our effort. We cannot pull ourselves up with our own boot laces, can we? Our good morals are like filthy rags (like menstrual cloth) before God, Isaiah wrote. All our “g-o-o-d” minus “G-O-D” is just a 0 – a zero (as someone said). But there is only one who coverts that duck into a hundred. That’s Jesus, the God in flesh, the only one who never ever sinned, the one Mediator between God and Man. All one needs to be saved is to put one’s trust in this Jesus, who died for us on the Cross and arose, with a repentant heart (Luke 13:5; Rom. 10:9). Paul writes, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith…” (Eph 2:8). Would you come to Jesus to accept this free gift of salvation? Would you do it now?

(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is an engineer turned Doctor of Ministry graduate. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a inter-church, inter-organizational ministry to present-day people. Duke and his wife, Evangelin work for this ministry fulltime. This ministry is funded by those who are blessed by reading Duke’s writings and hearing his messages – all Indians. Find out more by liking www.facebook.com/googleduke).

WHEN SUPER-SMART KIWIS CRASH-LANDED INDIAN FLIGHT ‘DREAM-LINER WORLD CUP 2019’ / a Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo

dhoni-run-out

New Zealand (called Kiwis in the Cricketing World) crash-landed Indian flight, “Dream-Liner World Cup 2019” on 9-10 July 2019 ODI at Manchester, England.  Here are some life lessons/Bible lessons from that stunning defeat that India faced.

The first reason for India’s defeat was the shrewdness of Kiwi Captain Kane Williamson. When he arrived at the pitch following the cheap dismissal of Martin Guptill, he conducted a pitch assessment. He knew it was more of a 250 pitch than a 300 plus pitch. So he adjusted accordingly and instructed his team to play that way. That was why Ross Taylor was running twos instead of trying to hit sixes in the last few overs of the New Zealand innings. Jesus commanded us to be “shrewd as snakes” (Matt 10:16). We must be willing to start with points of interest of those we are sharing the Gospel with before we moving on to points of possible conflict (like the uniqueness of Jesus/day of judgment/eternal hell), as wise and shrewd Apostle Paul illustrated in his Gospel presentation in Athens (Acts 17).

Dropping Mohammed Shami, the man who kept picking up wickets whenever he got to play, including a hat-trick, was a huge blunder. He could have played instead of Y. Chahal. What’s wrong in going in with four fast bowlers and a spinner – your best five bowlers as per form – for a knockout game? There is no rule that for a balanced attack you need to have two spinners along with three spinners. Chahal leaked crucial runs (He gave 18 runs in a pathetic over). Kohli needed to be daringly different when it came to team selection. He could have even tried Mayank Agrawal  (who has not played a ODI for India, but is a solid player with the right technique) as the opener for the semis. Rahul could have batted at Number 4. Dinesh Karthick could have been dropped. It takes guts to hand a debut to a player in a World Cup SemiFinal, but that brave, hat-ke (different) decision would have given India the match. Spiritual Lesson: Be different. Joseph was not like his brothers. One brother slept with Father’s wife. Another with his daughter in law. But Joseph was different. He did not follow the crowd in doing wrong (Exodus 23:2). He became Prime Minister of Egypt. He became a picture of Jesus.

Rohit Sharma, India’s stand-out batsmen of the Cup, got an unplayable ball and got out for 1. But sitting in the balcony, he signaled to Jadeja during the dying moments of India’s chase. “You have strength. You can do it!” – he conveyed using goosebumps giving gestures. That was team spirit at its very best. Rohit should be given the responsibility of leading India in the 2023 World Cup/2020 T20 World Cup. Kohli cannot win you a Limited Overs tournament, unless something changes dramatically. Checkout his record for RCB, Bangalore. He became captain of RCB in 2013. He has not won an IPL Trophy till 2019. Check his record in the Champions Trophy 2017  and the 2019 World Cup. He lost both. Coming back to Rohit (He had the tears in his eyes when Dhoni got out. When was the last time you cried? Have you wept for the lost? Jeremiah wept for the people before he whipped them with words of scorching warning). You may have failed, but you can still motivate your team-mates, like Rohit did in the semifinal. Paul was a Team Player. The New Testament scholars talk about 60 people who were part of Paul’s team during his ministry. Are you part of a ministry team? Do you encourage your team members?kohli out

Virat Kohli’s poor run in knock-out ICC World-Stage ODI games continues – 9 (vs Pak in 2011 Cup Semis); 1 (vs Aus in 2015 Cup Semis); 5 (vs Pak in Champions Trophy Final 2017); 1 (vs NZ in World Cup Semis 2019). When the stakes get higher, the super-star should be at his very best. When the important moment comes, you must be incredible! The Kohli tactic of playing the Semis as another game failed. When Rohit got out, Kohli should have defended as if his life depended on it like Dinesh Karthik later would at the start of his innings. Once he was set, he should have gone for his shots. Kohli should have ‘surrendered to the needs of the team situation’ instead of playing his natural game. The purpose for which He came to the World Cup – to win it – was defeated when he played his natural game (He did the same in the 2015 World Cup Semis too, when he top edged a pull/hook, a needless aggressive shot at that time). When the important moment of his life came – the time to die for the sake of the sins of the world – Jesus prayed. He stayed in touch with His Father. He yielded to the will of his father. While all others failed – his disciples ran helter-skelter – he did not. He fulfilled the purpose for which he came by focusing on what he came to do through the discipline of prayer!

Young Rishabh Pant got out, having got worked up for no reason. After four dot balls, he goes for an irresponsible shot only to be caught. He and Pandya were going well. Instead of ensuring the match went to his pocket, he sends a rocket because of four continuous dot balls, he was forced to play. Lesson: Don’t fret. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Cast your burdens onto Jesus. Then the peace that passes all understanding will be yours. The 21-year old Pant missed the opportunity of a lifetime to take India to a win in this semi-final. Do not spend the strength of your youth on sinful living but make your one life count for Jesus. It was a privilege for me to start a ministry at the age of 31 and quit my job with an international bank at the age of 34 to do fulltime ministry with the organisation I started. I have no regrets.pandya out

Hardik Pandya who lectured Pant with his eyes when Pant got out, got out in similar fashion – sending a rocket into the heavens which fell into safe hands of the New Zealand Captain, Kane Williamson. Practice what you preach. Don’t be like the Pharisees. Be like Jesus. He spoke about prayer’s importance in Gethsemane to his inner three and prayed right after.

Dhoni should have showed more intent (same old story). He does not have to wait till the 49th over first ball to hit a six. He consumed 20 dot balls in his partnership with Jadeja (who played one of best ever innings by a No. 8 batsmen in a World Cup knockout game hitting four 4s and four 6s). Don’t be a spectator when your partner is spectacular. That was Dhoni’s sin. Don’t be spectator to your pastor’s ministry in the local church. The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:9). You are a priest unto God as a New Testament believer.  Get involved in God’s Work! Give a tract! Pray for the sick! Lead a Bible Study! Care for the needy and sign out by sharing the Goodnews! Be a church volunteer! Do something for Jesus in the one life you have moved by his love!

Dhoni took six singles in the few balls before Jadeja holed out because of the compulsions of a climbing run-rate. Why did Dhoni not try to hit a six or a boundary, even before? Was he afraid of getting out? Why did he have to wait for Jadeja to all the hitting? Sambit Bal wrote, “From 71 for 5 and then 92 for 6, India would have sunk rapidly without Dhoni’s steadying hand, and yet, despite the 59-ball 77 from Jadeja, the run rate had mounted to over 15 when Jadeja was dismissed. To that 116-partnership, Dhoni had contributed 32 off 45 balls with 20 dots. Without him, the chase would have been dead long before but the question that will linger is: did he also make it nearly unachievable?” I agree with him. It was Dhoni’s tortoise-approach/no-big-shots approach that forced Hardik Pandya to go for the big one, only to be caught. Who knows what would have happened if Pandya – who hit a 90 plus off 30 plus in the IPL 2019  – had batted till the end? Don’t procrastinate. Don’t postpone matters. It leads to defeat. It leads to peril. Don’t procrastinate your salvation decision. Here’s why: You can die anytime (think of Absalom/Ahab) and after death there is no chance of salvation (Heb. 9:27). Jesus will come like thief in the night. After Jesus comes again, there is no chance of salvation. He is Savior today and judge tomorrow. The Holy Spirit may stop speaking to stubborn you (Gen. 6:3). After that, you can’t get saved. So come now. Serve Jesus now. When you get old even lavatory journey is troublesome (Eccl. 12). What missionary journey will you do? Now is the time to let it rip for Jesus.6 FIELDERS

When Dhoni got out in the 49th over, there were six fielders outside the 30 yard circle. The Rule Book says only five are allowed between Overs 41 through 50. The Umpires missed it. A big blunder. Ideally, a no-ball should have been signaled when the moment the ball was delivered. That would have given Dhoni enough time to hit the ball high in the air – as high as possible – and run for a two comfortably or try for another six without the fear of getting out (which he had through the tournament, the major reason for his go-slow approach). But Dhoni returned for a risky second run and Guptill’s throw hit the stumps. Human errors keep happening on this side of eternity. These result in cases of injustice. All justice matters will be sorted out on the final day of judgment when Jesus will be the judge. We need to wait till that day. Will there be justice, ever, you ask? Yes, there will be justice on the final day of judgment.

Martin Guptill failed with the bat, but his bulls-eye throw in the 49th over to run out Dhoni got New Zealand to the Cup final – we can say that. You may have sinned against the Lord. You may committed an unprintable sin. Repent of it. Come to Jesus. Ask for the cleansing of His blood. And with the help of the Spirit live a holy life (Rom. 8:13). By having an accountability friend you can consistently beat temptation (think of David-Nathan). You don’t have to keep goofing up. You can be a victorious Christian!11jadeja1

Jadeja got a bit carried away with his celebrations post his fifty. He gestured to Commentator Sanjay Manjrekar in a way asking what happened to his views that he was only a bits and pieces player who did not deserve to be in the Indian Team XI. If he had focused on the unfinished task, the task of taking India to a win that would have been great. The unfinished task of evangelism remains before the church. Let us quit fighting over silly matters (I am not talking about fighting salvation-affecting false doctrine here). Let those involved in the ministry not get into ego clashes. Let’s get on with the unfinished task of World Evangelism (North India remains the World’s most populated un-evangelized stretch).

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a listener-supported Indian ministry. Duke has written a Bible Devo on each of India’s games in the 2019 World Cup in England which you can read at http://www.dukewords.com. Find out more about Duke’s ministry at www.dukev.org).

THE ROHIT HAND SIGNAL FROM THE BALCONY; THE JESUS HAND STRETCH FROM CALVARY! India-New Zealand World Cup 2019 Semifinals – a poem by Duke Jeyaraj with a message at the end)

rohit sharma signal

rohit hand gesture

A quick assessment of the pitch the incoming Kane Williamson made, as soon as Guptill got out

Plans for a 250 plus score rather than a 300 plus score,  began to immediately sprout,

The Kiwis ran furious 2s instead of going for big shots to reach 239 to set up a tantalizing bout,

Rohit, Kohli, KL and DK  went and the Indian were starting at a definite, by-New Zealand, semis rout,

Before Youngguns Pant and Pandya a way out from the Certain Defeat cave they fiercely cut,

Impatient Pant after four dot balls skied a shot only to be caught – why did play that shot, but?

After Pandya perished Jadeja’s  lusty, valiant blows ended India’s boundary drought!

But Dhoni’s go-slow now, acceleration later approach made the required run-rate stout!

44 off 26 to win with two set batsmen in at one point – India were very much in the game then, no doubt!

Instead of going for 6s, Dhoni ran 6 singles in the next few balls & in-the-Dhoni-created-pressure, Jadeja holed out

As Dhoni hit a goosebumps giving six over backward-point in ball 49.1 – India’s World Cup dream did not yet logout!

Guptill ran-out Dhoni at a time when 6 fielders were outside the circle – a clear case of rule flout!

India’s collective heart-beat stopped as teary eyed Dhoni walked back towards his team’s hut!

“We are the team that crash-landed Flight No. ODI World Cup No.3 For India’ – that is now New Zealand’s deserving strut!

When Rohit Sharma, flexed muscles to signal the ‘Be Strong – You Can Take India To A Win’ to Jadeja & my heart did jut!

But did you know that Jesus stretched his arms and died, he signaled, ‘You have hope for the Salvation Door even for the worst ever sinner is not shut!’

Turn from sin and put your faith in the only God-in-flesh Jesus and you will find peace-amidst-the-storm in your gut!

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Check out www.purposespot.blogspot.com for similar write-ups. Read more of Duke’s writings at www.dukewords.com and watch his videos at www.youtube.com/visitduke).