THE STORY OF NYUGRAM

THE  STORY  OF  NYUGRAM

We tell the story of a God fearer who was led to meet Jesus by one of his disciples. ‘God-fearer’ was the title given by Jews to those who had belief in the One True God. In the Hebrew shastra we read that God made the universe (Genesis Chapter 1). He is the Self-existent Rarest and Best One (rang-grub dkon-mchok). He is the One who described Himself as I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14). And the shastra describes how he was the Creator; that is, all things in the universe have their cause (rgyu) in Him. (See footnote)

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Dr Luke tells the story of this very important minister to the Candace (Queen Mother), ruler of her country in Africa. It is found in Acts Ch.8 vv.26-40, which is posted separately. I have given him the name Nyugram because in Luke’s account in Greek he is called eunuchos; and a eunuch he may have been; or else Eunuch was the title of his ministerial post.

Nyugram had been worshipping in the Temple in Jerusalem, and was now setting off on his long journey home in his bullock-drawn official ‘car’. He had reached the dry steppe country near Gaza, and was reading the shastra. And then Philip, a disciple of Jesus, approached and spoke to him.

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

Verse 30

ཕི་ལིབ་དེའི་རྩར་བརྒྱུགས་ཤིང༌། གཉེར་དཔོན་དེས་ལུང་སྟོན་པ་ཡེ་ཤ་ཡཱ་ཡི་མདོ་ཀློག་གི་ཡོད་པ་ཐོས་ནས་ཁོང་ལ་ “ཁྱེད་ཀྱིས་ཀློག་པ་དེའི་དོན་རྟོགས་སམ་” ཞེས་དྲིས།

Nyugram replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”

 

Verse 31

གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ “སུ་ཞིག་གིས་ང་ལ་གསལ་བཤད་མ་བྱས་ན་ངས་ཇི་ལྟར་ཤེས་” ཅེས་སྨྲས་ནས་ཁོང་གིས་ཕི་ལིབ་ལ་ཤིང་རྟའི་ནང་མཉམ་དུ་སྡོད་པར་གདན་དྲངས།

And Philip was invited to explain the sutra to him.

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 

In his humiliation justice was denied him.  

Who can describe his generation?                   

For his life is taken away from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7,8)

 

Verses 32,33

ཁོང་གིས་ཀློག་བཞིན་པའི་མདོ་ནི།

ཁོང་ནི་ལུག་ལྟར་བཤས་རར་ཁྲིད་པ་ཡིན།།

བལ་འབྲེག་མཁན་སར་གནས་པའི་ལུག་གུ་བཞིན།།

སྐད་སྒྲ་མེད་པ་ལྟར་དུ་ཞལ་མི་འབྱེད།།

དམའ་བའི་སྐབས་སུ་གཞུང་དྲང་ཁྲིམས་མ་བཅད།།

ཁོང་གི་གདུང་རྒྱུད་སུ་ཡིས་འཆད་པར་ནུས།།

ཁོང་གི་ཚེ་སྲོག་ས་ནས་འཕྲོག་པས་སོ།།

 

And Nyugram asked, “About whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”

 

Verse 34

གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ཕི་ལིབ་ལ་ “ལུང་བསྟན་དེ་ནི་ལུང་སྟོན་པས་ཁོ་རང་ངམ་ཡང་ན་མི་གཞན་སུ་ཡི་སྐོར་གསུངས་པ་དེ་ང་ལ་གསུངས་དང་” ཞེས་སྨྲས་པ་ན།

Then Philip explained how the sutra was a prophecy of how Jesus himself would take the blame for our sin, because, while he was being humiliated and dying, it was our punishment that he carried. He himself left behind no family, yet it was so, that we might have future unfading life.

At that moment they came to one of the very few streams in those parts. And Nyugram exclaims, “Ah! see, some water! What is there to stop me being baptized?”

Verse 36

ཁོ་ཚོ་ལམ་ལ་འགྲོ་དུས་ཆུ་ཡོད་སར་སླེབས་པས་གཉེར་དཔོན་གྱིས་ “ལྟོས་དང༌། འདིར་ཆུ་འདུག ངས་ཁྲུས་གསོལ་ལེན་ན་ཅི་མ་རུང་” ཞེས་བཤད་ནས།*

So Philip baptized him.

He came up dripping, but with joy in his heart as he travelled on.

 

footnote –

དཀོན་མཆོག

དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ཡབ་དཀོན་མཆོག་དང༌། སྲས་དཀོན་མཆོག དམ་པའི་ཐུགས་ཉིད་དཀོན་མཆོག་བཅས་ཡིན་ལ། ངེད་རྣམས་ཀྱི་གཙོ་བོ་ཡེ་ཤུ་མཱ་ཤི་ཀའི་ཡབ་ཡིན། ཁོང་ནི་གཙོ་བོ་དཀོན་མཆོག་གམ། ཡ་ཝེ་དཀོན་མཆོག དབང་ཀུན་དང་ལྡན་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག བླ་ན་མེད་པའི་དཀོན་མཆོག་ཀྱང་ཟེར། དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ཀུན་མཁྱེན་ཡིན་ཞིང༌། ཁོང་མ་གནས་པའི་ས་ཆ་གཅིག་ཀྱང་མེད། དཀོན་མཆོག་གིས་འཇིག་རྟེན་ཁམས་དང་དེར་ཡོད་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་བཀོད་པ་གནང་ཞིང༌། སེམས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་ལ་སྲོག་གནང༌། (འགོད་པ་ 1:20-31 ལ་གཟིགས་) ཁོང་གིས་གཙོ་བོ་ཡེ་ཤུར་དད་པ་རྣམས་ལ་དམ་པའི་ཐུགས་ཉིད་མངགས། ཡེ་ཤུའི་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཀྱི་དཀོན་མཆོག་ནི་ནང་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱི་དཀོན་མཆོག་དང་གཅིག་པ་མིན།ད

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Nyugram found the Saviour Jesus Christ because he believed the prophecy in the shastra. Next time we will read how an apostle of Jesus refused to believe that Jesus had revived from death to be his Saviour, unless he actually saw and touched him.

THE STORY OF SUNDAR SINGH

THE  STORY  OF  SUNDAR  SINGH

We tell the story of a young man from a proud Sikh family, belonging to the culture of India and its ancient religious traditions.

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Born in 1889 at Rampur in the Punjab of N. India, Sundar Singh was the third son of wealthy noble parents. As a young child, and then a teenager, he was very much influenced by his mother to seek the peace of oneness with the Supreme Spirit.

This he did. And by the age of seven he had already learned by heart much of the Bhavagad Gita. By 16 he had read the Granth, and the Quran of the Moslems, and about fifty of the Upanishads. In this manner, reading the scriptures and meditating on them, he was following the traditional Path of Knowledge (Jnana-Marga) for achieving salvation. He even spent some time under instruction by a holy man, and ‘stayed in seclusion’ (mtshams-la sdod) in concentrated meditation.                        Lastly, he read the Bible – it was at the Christian school in his village – but he found its message repulsive and opposed to the traditions of his Sikh fathers. So, one day he burnt a bible in the presence of his father.

But he did not find the peace that he sought. And the thought of committing suicide on the railway line came to him.

So, three days after burning the bible, waking at 3am, he took a cold bath and prayed,

 

‘O God, if there is a God, please show me the right way or I will kill myself.’

 

The train would pass at 5am, and he was thinking that if, he got no answer, maybe he would get it in the next life.

He went on praying until 4.30, hoping for peace. Then he saw a great light. He looked around; was the room on fire? No! Had God answered? He prayed while looking into the light. It was then he saw the glorious and loving form of the Lord Jesus.

How could he prostrate himself before the One whom he had insulted? But a voice spoke in the Hindi language,

 

‘How long will you persecute me? I have come to save you; you were praying to know the right way. Why do you not take it?’

 

And the thought came to him,

 

‘Jesus Christ is not dead but living and it must be He Himself.’

 

Then falling at His feet, a wonderful Peace came, such as he had been unable to find anywhere else.

It was a Peace and Joy that remained with him all his life.

He went at once to tell his father,

 

‘I have become a Christian. I have discovered that Jesus Christ is alive and have determined to be His follower. Today I am his disciple and I am going to serve Him.’

 

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And that is what he did.

Family and relatives urged him to turn back. They told him of the shame and dishonour that would come to him; and of the wealth that he would lose. But he would not turn back.

Then persecution followed. They spoke against him.

Finally, he was given some poisoned food and thrown out. Although cast out without warm clothing, and having no belongings, except his bible in his hand, he had the peace of his Saviour in his heart. That first night felt like the joy of heaven.

He went on to be baptized in 1905. And then, wearing the yellow robe of a sadhu (holy man), and carrying no money, just his blanket and a bible, he preached Jesus Christ wherever he went – in the Punjab, Kashmir, Baluchistan, Afghanistan. From 1908 he spent the summer months for about 15 years in going up into Tibet, making the plateau his main field of work. He suffered in the cold, and was beaten, even tortured, for preaching Jesus. Then in 1929 he set off for the last time, but did not return.

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John’s Gospel was Sundar’s favourite book in the Bible.  In it we read that Jesus promised to give His Peace to his followers:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

ངས་ཁྱེད་ཚོ་ཞི་བདེ་གནས་པར་བྱེད། ངའི་ཞི་བདེ་ཁྱེད་ཚོར་སྦྱིན། ངས་ཞི་བདེ་སྦྱིན་ཚུལ་ནི་འཇིག་རྟེན་གྱིས་ཞི་བདེ་སྟེར་ཚུལ་དང་མི་འདྲ་བས། ཁྱེད་ཚོའི་སེམས་མ་འཁྲུགས་ཤིང་མ་འཇིགས་ཤིག

 

Jesus also promised full understanding of the truth of his words to any person who would be willing to obey:

“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (John 7:17).

སུ་ཡང་དཀོན་མཆོག་གི་ཐུགས་དགོངས་བཞིན་དུ་སྒྲུབ་པར་ཆོད་སེམས་བཙུགས་ན། བསྟན་པ་འདི་ནི་དཀོན་མཆོག་ནས་བྱུང་ངམ། ཡང་ན་ངས་རང་ཐོག་ནས་བཤད་པ་ཡིན་ཤེས་པར་འགྱུར།

 

Details of Sundar’s life may be found in many books. The above information is taken from B.H.Streeter and A.J.Appasamy, The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, 1921 Macmillan.

THE STORY OF CLEOPAS

THE  STORY  OF  CLEOPAS

In our recent series of posts we read how Peter was converted and became a changed person when he received the Holy Spirit. Now, in this new series, we shall read stories of how other people since then have had a life-changing experience through receiving Jesus as Saviour.

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It was the same day that Jesus Christ revived and rose from the dead. Two of the disciples were walking back home late in the day from Jerusalem to their village, and they were talking with each other about all that had happened. One of them, was Cleopas.

As they talked a stranger appeared and joined them. What are you talking about? he asked.

Cleopas, “Are you the only one who doesn’t know?”

The stranger, “What is it I don’t know?”

Then they spoke in a rush, first one then the other “About Jesus of Nazareth of course … how the chief priests got him crucified … we had hoped he was the Messiah Christ … and this morning some of my women friends told us the tomb was empty … and some angels told them that Jesus was alive … we didn’t believe, but two of our men went to check, and – well – the tomb was empty … “

But the stranger interrupted, “Why so slow to believe! The prophets did tell how the Messiah Christ had to suffer – be killed like a lamb – and then return to heaven.” And he went on to explain how the whole Hebrew shastra spoke of Jesus (because that is who the stranger was).

At their home they asked him in. Then at supper he thanked God for the meal in the manner in which he had always done, and they realized he was Jesus!

At once he vanished, and they were left looking at each other open-mouthed, “Didn’t great feelings of joy warm us inside as he explained the shastra?” they said.

Instead of Jesus’ death being the end of all their hopes for salvation, it was actually the final fulfilment of God’s plan which had existed from the very beginning. And they rushed back by night, and found the others too had no thought of sleeping, because Jesus had risen!

(Read the whole story as it is told in Luke 24:13-35. It is posted separately for you)

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It was by meeting the risen Jesus in person that the first believers became converted. But it could not always be like that, and it became necessary for one person to tell another as those women did; that is, whether other people will believe you and me or not (The apostles did not believe the women at first). And only rarely, as in some of the stories that we shall be reading, did Jesus show himself again to people on future occasions.

Next time : A god-fearing African meets a disciple of Jesus in the desert.