Ravi Zacharias' memorial service to be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook

Ravi Zacharias, March 26, 1946 - May 19, 2020.
Ravi Zacharias, March 26, 1946 - May 19, 2020. | RZIM

A memorial service honoring the life of Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube on Friday with tributes from Passion Movement founder Louie Giglio, Lecrae, Tim Tebow and Vice President Mike Pence. 

Zacharias, who died of a rare form of cancer on May 19 at age 74, was ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance and founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in 1984. 

He later launched an apologetics training center in 2017. Zacharias also had a weekly radio program called "Let My People Think" that was carried by an estimated 2,000 outlets in more than 30 countries.

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"Ravi Zacharias spent the past 48 years traveling the world to commend the Christian faith and address life's greatest existential questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny with eloquence and grace for a variety of audiences," RZIM said in its announcement about the memorial service that will broadcast at 11 a.m. Eastern time.  

"Through his founding and leadership of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Ravi launched a global team of nearly 100 Christian scholars and authors who continue to speak, resource, train, and address the questions of millions around the world."

According to the announcement, a memorial message will be given by Giglio and musical artists Matt Redman and Lecrae will perform. Others who will give tributes include Brooklyn Tabernacle Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala and RZIM President Michael Ramsden. 

On March 12, Zacharias announced that doctors discovered a malignant tumor of the sacrum called sarcoma a few weeks after he underwent back surgery. The sacrum is a shield-shaped, bony structure located at the base of the lumbar vertebrae and is connected to the pelvis.

After undergoing chemotherapy in an attempt to shrink the tumor, Sarah Davis, the CEO of RZIM and Zacharias' eldest daughter, announced earlier this month that the area where the cancer was had metastasized even though chemotherapy shrunk the tumor.

"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," Davis said. 

She added that her parents left M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, to return home so her father could spend the remainder of his time on Earth with his family in Atlanta, Georgia.

Zacharias wrote several books, including Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality. He was lauded by Christian leaders worldwide for teaching them how to become better defenders of the faith.

Before Zacharias died, 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow hailed Zacharias as one of his "heroes of the faith." 

In a tearful message posted on Instagram, Tebow called Zacharias a "mentor" and urged others to also share the impact the evangelist made in their lives. 

Tebow said he wanted to be able to send the messages to Zacharias before he died.  

Following Zacharias' death, evangelist Franklin Graham shared a photo on Instagram of himself with Zacharias and mutual friend Sami Dagher. Graham's post described Zacharias as "one of the great Christian apologists of our time."

Nick Hall, an international speaker and founder of the evangelistic ministry PULSE, also posted a message expressing his gratitude for Zacharias and detailed the last encounter he had with the minister, who was a part of Hall's global Holy Week outreach.  

"Ravi opened doors for me, shared our stage at @pulse.movement and @together.generation events, and spoke into my life in ways that I will never forget," Hall wrote on Instagram

Hall added that a few weeks before Zacharias' death, the two celebrated the impact of their Holy Week collaboration. 

It was Zacharias' "last ministry event while on earth, where his message went out to possibly his largest audience ever — over 100 million people, according to Nielsen ratings."

Zacharias was born in India on March 26, 1946. Although he was raised in a Christian home, Zacharias considered himself to be a religious skeptic until age 17.

During a hospitalization following a suicide attempt, Zacharias was visited by a Youth for Christ director and was given a Bible. He was struck by the verse John 14:19, which reads: "Because I live, you also will live."

"This verse has become the cornerstone of Zacharias' ultimate mission as a Christian apologist and evangelist: to present and defend the truth of Jesus Christ that others may find life in Him," RZIM stated in a tribute to the late apologist.

According to Davis, the Bible verse is carved into Zacharias' grandmother's gravestone and it will also be etched on her father's gravestone.

Archbishop Joseph D'Souza of the Good Shepherd Church of India said in a message shared with The Christian Post that Zacharias' life isn't "just a loss for the global Christian community." He said, "India also has lost a great son and a great Christian apologist."

Follow Melissa Barnhart on Twitter: @MelBarnhart

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