On a warm November afternoon in 2008, ten Pakistani young men dressed in blue jeans and black T-shirts boarded a boat sailing out of Karachi. Once they were out on the high seas, they hijacked an Indian fishing trawler and ordered the captain to take them to Mumbai. They dropped anchor a few miles from shore and motored their way into the harbor in a rubber dinghy. Around 8:00 in the evening they docked at one of the fishing shanties, and when the fishermen asked who they were, the men curtly told them to shut up and mind their own business.
An hour and a half later the men began a well-orchestrated series of terrorist attacks that would grip Mumbai for the next four days. High on cocaine and LSD and steroids they marched into the Chhatrapati Shivaji – one of the busiest train stations in the world – and began shooting. They raided the Nariman House – and Jewish outreach center – and the Camas Hospital. They attacked a string of luxury hotels like the Oberoi Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace. When it was all said and done, 163 people were dead, and more than 300 were injured.
Right next door to the Taj Mahal Palace is the Leopold Café – a popular restaurant with locals and tourists alike. On that fateful night a 31 year old English actor by the name of Joey Jeetun met a friend for dinner. The place was packed with happy diners, and the only empty table was at the back of the dining room.
As Joey and his friend enjoyed their dinner, they heard something that sounded like an exploding light bulb, or a fist full of firecrackers going off. They immediately realized that it was gunfire. In the split seconds that followed, a man snatched Joey out of his seat and threw him under the table. Then covering Joey with his own body, he whispered, “Get down! Get down! Do not speak!”
Joey squeezed his eyes shut and stayed as still as he could. People across the dining room screamed. There was shouting and sporadic gun fire as the terrorists combed the room randomly killing people.
Finally, after five minutes, the place fell silent. Joey opened his eyes. Blood was splattered everywhere. Dead bodies were scattered across the floor. The place was in complete pandemonium. A group of men scrambled to their feet and rushed the front door, locking and blocking it in case the terrorists came back. Café waiters ushered their guests upstairs to another room. Finally, after another 15 minutes the police came and led them out.
When Joey Jeetun got back to London, the news media met him at Heathrow Airport. “Joey! Joey!” they shouted, “How is it that you are still alive?” After a thoughtful moment, he reverently whispered, “I suppose it is because I was covered in someone else’s blood.
Joey’s story provides a powerful metaphor for what Jesus has done for us, because when He covered us with His blood and died in our place on Calvary’s cross, He saved us from the ultimate terrorist death attack.
Dan Martella is Administrative Pastor for the Paradise church in California, and Managing Editor for Best Practices for Adventist Ministry