James Chalmers was born in Scotland in 1841. He spent his life telling cannibals the good news about Jesus. In 1877 he went to Papua New Guinea, located across from the northern tip of Australia.
What did the locals look like? Many of them were committed cannibals. Some of the more depraved tribes would capture their enemies alive and would then proceed to hack off pieces of flesh while the prisoners were kept in giant larders.
Sometimes the unfortunate victims would be kept alive for six or seven days!
Many dwellings were built in the tops of trees and entire villages were often perched on stilts over the ocean water. There was a constant and unrelenting fear of enemy attack, butchery and frenzied guzzling of human flesh.
Chalmers was fearless as he told the cannibals about Jesus and the kingdom of God. His message boiled down to this – "Love your enemies! Don't eat them!" And many began to follow Jesus. They stopped eating each other and began 'eating' Jesus as they took communion together.
In 1901 while he was visiting a new region, Chalmers was surrounded by practising cannibals, clubbed, beheaded and finally eaten. His body was cooked with sago and served as the main course of a celebratory feast.
There are still cannibals living in remote parts of Papua New Guinea. Some of them assert that Japanese people are much tastier than Europeans. Apparently white people are too salty!
Cannibal stories are a great way to get people thinking about the Bible and Jesus. Most people find these stories fascinating. The detail is truly shocking. The reality of cannibalism should alert us to the biblical teaching about sin and idolatry. When people turn away from God they can do some truly appalling things. Instead of loving our neighbours, we exploit them and use them. Instead of loving our enemies, some people have them for lunch. Talk to your friends about cannibalism. Tell them the story of James Chalmers. Tell them that when we come to God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ we can eat the Lord (communion) instead of eating/hurting/exploiting each other!