Something had changed. Tony realised the Bible wasn’t just another philosophical book. It was alive. It spoke. He was still confused, but he started praying to Jesus. From that moment of revelation in the jungle, his 10 years of drug taking stopped instantly; gone in a moment.
From Rishikesh he travelled to Bombay and booked into the Salvation Army Hostel. It was there that he met an elderly Canadian man, Arthur Rose. Tony thought he was either a saint or an angel. He talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Arthur patiently explained that it wasn’t possible to believe in both resurrection and reincarnation. It had to be one or the other; they were poles apart. By the end of the conversation, Tony knew he had to choose. He chose resurrection.
Arthur invited Tony to attend an Easter service in a slum area. While they were sitting on the dusty steps of the Salvation Army hostel, Tony looked at Arthur and said, “I know now that Jesus is the way. I don’t have to look for any other guru. I want to follow Him.”
He had only been to two other church services in New Zealand. Both were traditional and he had no idea what was going on. He went to a youth camp when he was much younger but was too stoned to concentrate on anything that was said.
The room was tiny and packed with slum dwellers. Tony had his guitar with him and they asked him to sing a song. He didn’t know any hymns or choruses so he sang the only remotely churchy song he knew; Bob Dylan’s, “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.” The Marathi speakers didn’t understand a word of it but were happy that a foreigner was singing in their church.
When he got to the verse, “Mama, take these guns off me..” they kept smiling, so he kept going.
As he read the Easter story, later that day on his bed, tears flowed; he was overwhelmed and moved to tears thinking about how one so perfect could have died for someone so sinful. He was grateful that Jesus had died in his place.