“Take a Stand for Jesus Christ”
Brothers Respond to Franklin Graham’s Challenge in Hyderabad
November 11, 2011 - On the second night of the Hyderabad Festival with Franklin Graham, two brothers accepted a challenge to take a stand for Christ, each in his own way. They joined 49,500 who heard the Gospel Friday in India.
by Janet Chismar
Jayesh joked that he found himself “at the wrong place at the right time” tonight in Hyderabad. Having just returned to India after attending college in the United States, the 22-year-old hadn’t planned to attend the Franklin Graham Festival.
He would have preferred to go out drinking.
But a persistent brother who attended the Christian Life and Witness Course (CLWC) offered by his church was determined to drag Jayesh to hear the Gospel. “I heard about the Graham family when I lived in Virginia,” said Jayesh, “but I didn’t know what they did really—just something religious.”
And religion was the last thing Jayesh cared about. Finding a job and a wife topped his list, followed by partying and playing cricket.
A family emergency a month ago interrupted his plan to accept a job in Washington, D.C. “I had to come home because my father is dying of cancer,” Jayesh explained.
While Jayesh was away at school, his little brother—who now goes by the name John—gave his heart to Jesus Christ and began to attend church and Bible Study in Secunderabad. Yet he felt reluctant to share his faith with anyone—especially anyone in his family.
“It just didn’t seem like a cool thing to do,” said 17-year-old John. “But the CLWC gave me courage. I knew I had to reach my family at this sad time.”
Jayesh only agreed to come to the Festival after John promised they could leave if the message disturbed his brother.
“I planned to hit the bar after 20 minutes,” Jayesh later confessed.
The night started off well as the brothers agreed they liked the music from Dayanidhi Rao, who sang at the opening ceremony for the World Cup Cricket tournament in 1996 at Calcutta and was named one of the best male singers in India in 2010.
“Do you need a touch from God in your life?” Rao asked before one of his songs. The question seemed to soften Jayesh’s heart.
And then came the message.
When Franklin Graham began talking about leprosy and sin, something really clicked. “Leprosy is an incurable disease and so is sin,” said Graham. “Leprosy is infectious and cannot be healed. You can’t cure your own sin either. But Jesus Christ died so that sins can be healed and forgiven.”
Jayesh knew a thing or two about sin. He had grown to hate some of the habits he picked up during college, but didn’t know how to stop. “When Franklin called it sin, it made sense for the first time,” Jayesh admitted.
Hearing Franklin preach about the love and forgiveness of Jesus, Jayesh thought about his father who may only live a few more months. “My own dad is always so forgiving,” he shared. “Maybe God is like that.”
And when Franklin explained that a relationship with Jesus isn't the same thing as religion, Jayesh felt a bit more ready.
Then came the challenge: "Take a stand for Jesus Christ tonight.”
Jayesh knew it was time. If his brother could do it, so could he. “I can’t believe I came here and can’t believe this all made sense. I never expected to give my heart to Jesus.”
John, meanwhile, was practically jumping up and down with joy. “I am glad I overcame my fear to share the love of God. Now maybe we can talk to our father before it’s too late.”