Renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias passed away on May 19, 2020, aged 74.
In March, the founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) shared that he had been diagnosed with sarcoma, which was discovered after a back surgery. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy but was recently told that “no options for further treatment remain”.
“My dad, at 74, has ‘joined with the triumphant saints that sing his Savior’s praise’. We who knew and loved him celebrate his life, and more importantly, his Saviour,” wrote his eldest daughter Sarah Davis, CEO of RZIM, in a post on RZIM.org confirming Zacharias’ death.
Zacharias had been struggling with a rare form of cancer.
He is survived by Margie, his wife of 48 years; his three children: Sarah, CEO of RZIM; Naomi, Director of Wellspring International; Nathan, RZIM’s Creative Director for Media; and five grandchildren.
When news of his diagnosis was revealed in March, there was an outpouring of prayers and words of encouragement for the well-loved apologist.
But just two months later on May 9, his daughter shared that Zacharias would be stopping treatment.
“We have just learned that while the tumor in my dad’s sacrum has been responding to the chemotherapy, the area where the cancer metastasized has actually worsened. His oncologist informed us that this cancer is very rare in its aggression and that no options for further treatment remain. Medically speaking, they have done all they are able,” said Davis.
“Ravi, Margie, and Naomi are returning from Houston and will remain at home in Atlanta, where our family can be together for whatever time the Lord gives us.”
With this update, many took to social media to share their reflections and testimonies on how his ministry had touched their lives under the hashtag #ThankYouRavi.
Sharing the news of her father’s passing this evening, Davis highlighted a stanza from a hymn by the late Richard Baxter (1615-1691). This was what Zacharias had recited on January 4, she said.
Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be?
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.
She said: “Today we affirm, as my dad recited and Baxter penned, ‘But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, and I shall be with Him.'”
Davis also added that this verse from the Gospel of John would be etched on Zacharias’ grave stone.
“Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)
It’s a fitting choice given that these seven words changed the trajectory of Zacharias’ life some 57 years ago.
At age 17, Zacharias was a sceptic who was lying on a “bed of suicide”. But he committed his life to Christ after coming to believe in Scripture and experiencing the hope one could have in Jesus.
Committed to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth, he would go on to share this message with millions around the world, founding RZIM in 1984 with the mission of “helping the thinker believe and the believer think”.
Today, his ministry has 15 offices across the world.
Known as one of the foremost defenders of Christianity’s intellectual credibility, Zacharias’ work in the realm of apologetics has brought the good news to people in more than 70 countries.
Having spent some time with Zacharias in his last days, RZIM President Michael Ramsden had this to say: “Although he can only speak in a whisper, his passion for Jesus Christ, for the Gospel, and for the heart and vision of our team is unwavering. If anything, there were moments when you could only say that his passion burns even brighter.
“His message to us in many ways was very straightforward: Keep following Christ and keep preaching the Gospel. This we will keep on doing, it is the reason why RZIM exists.”