March 26th, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 8


I was in Israel last year, with a bunch of Dallas Seminary students, on a study tour. And we were in Jerusalem for several days.

While our days were filled with tours, and lectures and study time for the students (who had to take two exams in those three weeks we were there), we did have some free time. And I set off to wander on my own.

And got lost in the maze-like streets of Jerusalem.

[Not the first time, nor, hopefully, the last. There’s something exhilarating about losing yourself in a foreign city!]

Weaving in and out of the labyrinthine layout, I was trying to find my way back to the Latin Patriarchate Street, where our hotel was. Instead, I ended up in the Greek Patriarchate Street.

No matter. It was quiet and deserted—unlike the packed-like-sardines streets in and around the markets—and had some fine old buildings and some regal Greek Orthodox churches that I stopped at to take pictures.

As I made my way down the G. P. Street, I spotted an elderly, bearded gentleman in black robes, making his way towards me, carrying a cane. I didn’t think much of it: after all I was in a religious section, the Greek Orthodox section, of the Christian quarter, and here was a monk or a priest. Nice picture!

As we got closer, I noticed his refined face staring at my T-shirt. That’s when I realized I was wearing my DTS T-shirt, with the motto of the school on its seal … in Greek!

κήρυξον τòν λόγον
Preach the word;
be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2

He must have been thinking:

What’s that this strange, foreign-looking, Indian-like fellow wearing? Looks like Greek to me.”

We were within hand-shaking distance on that narrow street when he looks up at me and asks, in perfect English:

Where are you from?”

I introduce myself as a seminary professor from America. And he introduces himself, in turn. This distinguished gentleman turns out to be the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem out for a walk near his quarters!

He goes:

Are you from India originally?”

When I say I am, he wants to know if I am from the state of Kerala.

I am, I say, wondering at his astuteness.

Suddenly, he breaks into a chant:

ക്രിസ്തു ഉയിർത്തെഴുന്നേറ്റു!
തീർച്ചയായും ക്രിസ്തു ഉയിർത്തെഴുന്നേറ്റു!”

Which, folks, is rather amazing, considering that a) it is in my mother tongue, Malayalam, a classical language of the Dravidian family, b) spoken only by about forty million who hail from the southwestern coast of India; c) I am hearing it, in Jerusalem, on the Greek Patriarchate Street, from an obviously non-Indian, European-looking, random dude, who d) happens to be the Greek Patriarch of ye olde city of Yerushalayim, where e) this seminary professor from the U.S., of Indian descent, happened to get lost, while f) wearing a T-shirt that had some Greek on it!

Stranger things have happened , but this was real strange!

Oh, and what did he say, you ask?

Christ is risen!
He is risen, indeed!”

Instantantly, we—two guys very, very unlike each other—became brothers!

For this is it, isn’t it, the core of Christianity?

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
and that He was buried,
and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and that He appeared ….
1 Corinthians 15:3–5

Christ is risen!
He is risen, indeed!”


  1. Dave Morgan April 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Very much like our Lord to arrange chance meetings as an occasion to celebrate new life in Him!

  2. rodney March 29, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I was in India for 3 weeks in 2014 and spent about 10 days in Kerala; so beautiful! I want to go back:) Of course next time I need to visit the northern parts of India too.

  3. Eric Fan March 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Amazing encounter! Christ is risen indeed!

  4. Reid March 26, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    How very cool! The world is small indeed when we realize we are all under Gid’s hand regardless of our location. (I also love the Ruth-like allusions of “it just so happened.”)


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