Sundar Singh – Apostle with Bloody Feet

Sundar Singh was born in 1869 and raised as a Sikh (a member of the sect of monotheistic Hinduism) under the vigilant care of his mother in a wealthy family, trying to find the truth, he got acquainted with various religions.

His mother encouraged not only his careful study of the vedas, the ancient sacred books of Hinduism, but he also read thekoran, the holy book of Islam, and he attended a Christian missionary school.

Although everything seemed to indicate that the best religious path for him would be to become a sadhu (a Hindu who took an oath to live in poverty and celibacy, rejecting all worldly pleasures and completely devoting himself to religion), but when Sundar’s mother died (Sundar at this time was fourteen years old), everything that held his world together, died with her.

This presence of her made the existence of God obvious to him, and without her he could no longer find peace and quiet in his life. Sundar turned his anger against Christians, beginning to disrupt their meetings and form crowds of people who stoned their missionaries. The limit of his atrocities against Christianity was that he began to rampage and burned the New Testament – sheet by sheet, in front of his father and friends, to show his contempt for Christianity.

After this incident, he locked himself in his room and began to pray to the “universal spirit” to reveal the truth to him. On the third day, he woke up at three in the morning and decided to end his life by throwing himself under an express train that passed through the village every day at 5:00 in the morning. Having made this decision, he made a desperate prayer in the hope of finding out the truth or dying.

As a Hindu, he believed that if his prayer was not answered, he would eventually find peace in his subsequent reincarnations.

But the Truth did not leave him in trouble. Just before 5:00, a light filled his room so bright that he thought a fire had started. For a while, he closed his eyes tightly, hoping to die in the flames, but when nothing happened, he opened them to see the source of that light. Jesus stood before him. Suddenly his spirit was filled with peace, incomparable to anything he had ever experienced. This is what it is – the knowledge of the Truth! When he looked up, Jesus was gone. But peace remained in his soul.

The next morning he announced to his family: “Now I am a Christian. I will not serve anyone but Jesus now. ” So a battle began in his family for the return of Sundar to Hinduism, which ended with the fact that he was expelled from his home, and one of his relatives even tried to imprison him.

So, on September 3, 1905, on the day of his sixteenth birthday, Sundar was baptized as a Christian in the church of the local mission and once retired for a month in a hilly area in order to understand what further actions God expects from him.

During this time period, he remembered how difficult it was for him to master the Christian way of life, which was practiced in missions, because it had more Western culture than Christian truths.

Hindus who became Christians changed their national dress to resemble English missionaries, sat on back-backed benches in Anglican church buildings, spoke English in most cases, sang English hymns at English worship services, and relied entirely on the guidance of Western missionaries.

He felt that in order for Christianity to take its rightful place in the public life of India, it needed to be given an Indian “form.”

Then Sundar decided to return to the path that was always open to him, and became a sadhu, but such a sadhu whose life will be dedicated to Jesus. After that, he put on the yellow-orange sadhu robe, distributed what little he still owned, and began to wander through North India with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

As he wandered, a great desire was born in his heart to penetrate the northern borders. In his spirit, Sundar understood how to carry the Good News to Hindus and Buddhists, and he wanted to go with the Gospel to Tibet. When he traveled in the foothills of the Himalayas, he began to understand the impracticability of this task.

Nevertheless, about a year and a half after his baptism, Sundar made his first trip to Tibet, after two missionaries had taught him a little Tibetan and “loaned” a young translator who agreed to travel with him.

Although Sundar was not very successful in his ventures, he returned to Tibet every summer for the rest of his life. Incredible stories have been written about Sundar’s visits to Tibet. During these trips, after being arrested and beaten, his unconscious body was repeatedly thrown away because he was believed to be dead.

During one of the trips in Nepal in the middle of a dense wild forest Sundar was attacked by four bandits.

Instead of resisting, Sundar fell to his knees and bowed his head, expecting one of the bandits to immediately finish him off with his sword. But the bandits were so surprised by his behavior that they gave up the idea of ​​killing him. Seeing that the only valuable thing he had was a blanket, they took it from Sundar and ordered him to leave immediately.

However, they were so puzzled by a hundred behavior that one of the robbers called him again and asked his name. Sundar returned, introduced himself and, opening his Bible, began to read him a story about a rich man and Lazarus from the Gospel of Luke. When the robber realized how pathetic the rich man had become in the end, he asked Sundar what could happen to a man like him.

Sundar used this chance to convey the Good News to the robber, and told him about the forgiveness won for him on the cross by Jesus. The thief repented and took Sundar to his home as a guest.

On another trip, he was captured by a group of monks and sentenced to death by the local head lama for spreading a foreign religion. He was thrown naked into a well, which was used as a grave for the remains of murderers and criminals, who were thrown there already killed or still alive, where they soon died.

The well was closed, and the lama had the only key, Sundar spent two days without food or water among the decaying corpses, but on the third day he was miraculously saved: some stranger came, freed him, and then simply closed the well again and left.

When Sundar was captured by the same monks a little later, the lama was extremely surprised to see him alive, knowing that no one could free this man without his key. For this reason, the monks were filled with fear of the God of Sundar and began to beg him to leave.

As an itinerant sadhu, Sundar traveled throughout India and Ceylon in 1918 and 1919, as well as China, Malaysia and Japan. Between 1920 and 1922 he was invited to Western Europe, Israel and Australia. Nevertheless, his heart always called him to India and Tibet, so Sundar always returned to continue his activities there. Wherever he went, he dressed in a simple sadhu robe and traveled barefoot.

Often, after a long journey, he appeared in the villages with bloody and blistered feet. For this reason, he became known as the “apostle with bloody feet.”

Sundar always strictly adhered to the Bible and in many of his actions followed the examples given in the Scriptures. One day, while he was preaching in the market square, a man came up to him and punched him in the face. In response, Sundar turned and offered him the other cheek. The man was ashamed and on the same evening sent a note to Sundar in which he asked his forgiveness.

Despite the growing risk, ill health, and warnings from friends and other missionaries, Sundar in the summer of 1929 again took his annual route to Tibet. After that, no one else heard anything about him, and no one saw him again, and no one ever found out what happened to him.

Sundar Singh wanted to discover a Christianity that was not “Western” but “Indian”. Clothing style, language, etc. so often transferred to another culture along with faith in Jesus, that becoming a Christian sometimes meant becoming, for example, British.

What Sundar did to separate culture from faith and by preaching only what constitutes the essence of Christianity was, in its own way, a countercultural revolution that created the preconditions for the further spread of Christianity in India. People like Watchman Nee have done the same in China. When the church becomes native and there are more local than foreigners among the preachers, then the development of the church takes on a completely different progressive character.

Christianity is a counterculture that changes only those beliefs that are the most essential part of a person’s spiritual world, and does not strive to make all people the same. But this only happens when the preacher, being a person belonging to a particular culture, values ​​a personal meeting with God through His Word more than declaring himself a Christian. And in this case, he can avoid confrontation both with the social group to which he himself belongs, and with the people to whom he was sent with the Good News.

“… Being free from all, I enslaved myself to all in order to gain more: for the Jews I was like a Jew, in order to gain the Jews; for those under the law was as under the law, in order to gain those under the law; for those who are alien to the law – as alien to the law, – not being alien to the law before God, but under the law of Christ, – in order to acquire alien to the law; to the weak I was like the weak, so that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all, in order to save at least some. But this I do for the Gospel, that I may be partaker of it ”, 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23.

First sermon by Sadu Sundar Singh, delivered at PLACE MONTBENON, March 5, 1922.

In order to know God with your heart, you must seek Him with all your heart in solitude and silence. God cannot open up to a person whose heart is filled with earthly vanity.

When Christ wanted to heal the man born blind, He took him out of the village, away from the crowd and vanity. He made clay from saliva and anointed the eyes of the blind with it, not because He considered His saliva to be miraculous, but because He wanted to test the faith of the blind. And since his faith was not complete, his eyes did not open completely. “I see people passing by like trees,” he said. Then Christ laid his hands on his eyes, and they opened completely. But his spiritual eyes were closed, he did not feel God in Jesus Christ.

We must not forget that in addition to the physical, we have a spiritual vision, thanks to which we can see God. Only, for most people, it is covered with a veil of unbelief. People speak with their lips about God, but with their spiritual sight they do not see Him. Like a fog closes Him from them, until suddenly, through faith, the veil falls from the eyes.

I must tell you how it was with me. I did not come to preach, because I am among the believers, but to testify that I saw the Living Christ. He is the God and Savior of the world, and not just a person, as many think. Whoever is not personally convinced of His Divinity should not dispute this.

Christ, full of pity for people, having assumed the image of a human, came into this world. I am reminded of a story I heard in Tibet about a master who had many sheep. Once, returning home, he learned that about a hundred sheep had separated and disappeared in the mountains.

He was very upset and sent his servants to look for them. But the servants could not find them and soon returned, fearing the wild beasts. Then he decided to go in search of himself. But so that the sheep would not be afraid of him, and followed him, he put on a sheep’s skin and crawled towards them like a sheep on all fours.

He gathered all the sheep, led them outside the fence, fed them, bandaged the wounded and then, to the surprise of the sheep, took off his skin, straightened up and became a man again. This is what Christ did to us. He temporarily became a Man in order to come closer to us, redeem us, and reveal His teaching to us. “Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.”

Christ wants us to be alone with Him for at least a few minutes a day, so that we seek Him in prayer. But how little people seek Him and how little they thank Him! And the blind man who had received his sight did not understand and did not thank God for the miracle performed on him. The lame man who had been lying at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, and whom Christ healed did not thank Him. For thirty-eight years! ..

It would seem, what a delight should have seized his soul, after he received healing! .. When I was sitting at this very pool, in Palestine, I thought how ungrateful people are. How grateful they should be to God for being born where Christ is preached everywhere! This is a great advantage!

I was born a pagan and in my youth I persecuted Christ. I hated Christianity and once even tore up the Gospel. But I did not find peace of mind anywhere and suffered terribly. I told myself that if I didn’t find God, I would commit suicide. There was a railway not far from our house. I got up early in the morning, took a bath, and decided to throw myself under the train. I again took the Gospel, read it for a long time and spent an hour and a half in prayer. Suddenly my whole room was filled with amazing light. In this bright cloud I saw Christ in a crown of thorns.

I cannot tell you what a wonderful vision it was! Then it also suddenly disappeared. But the consciousness of the reality of Christ, the feeling of His presence remained as a direct answer to all my doubts. And the great peace, the peace of Christ, promised by Him in the Gospel, seized my soul, thirsting for truth. Since then, the world has not left me for sixteen years.

It was December 18th, and on December 16th, just two days before that, I was still persecuting Christ and tore up the Gospel with my own hands. I found my Savior, surrendered to Him, and from that moment on my whole life belongs to Him. Everyone who seeks will find Christ, because His grace to all of us is equally equal and equally great. If you were traveling to pagan countries, you would know how great their need for the Gospel is and what people are without God!

The lives of millions of people are not much different from animals. Of the greatest importance is the work of the children of God in pagan countries, who brought the light of the Gospel there. I express my deep gratitude to the European missionaries working in India, and I ask you to support their work as you can.

But in conclusion, unfortunately, I cannot but tell you that if the pagans make themselves a god out of idols, then many here, the so-called “Christians”, make an idol out of their “I” and serve him alone. Christ calls you through me not to persecute Him with your words and deeds. Take these words of my testimony as His words.