A Royal Death

by Shane Scott

Like everyone else I was stunned to hear of the death of the former Princess Diana. Diana was just six years older than me, in the prime of life. Now she is gone. Her death is a grim reminder of the transitory nature of life. I believe we all feel sympathy for her family, and especially for her children.

The nightly news has been dominated by this tragedy. Much of the coverage of Diana's death has revolved around who should bear the responsibility for the wreck. The finger of blame is being pointed in all directions. Some observers blame Diana's driver for the accident. According to reports he was severely inebriated. Other blame the photographers, known as "paparazzi," whose desperate attempts to secure photos of Diana apparently precipitated the tragedy.

Arguably, society as a whole is to blame. After all, the paparazzi are eager to acquire revealing photos only because of the insatiable appetite our society has for tabloids. If there were no demand for these pictures, there would be no supply.

Be that as it may, the outpouring of grief over the loss of Diana has been incredible. Thousands of mourners have laid flowers at the gates of the royal palace, and eight million mourners attended the funeral procession and service.Who knows how many millions of viewers watched the ceremony on televisions around the globe.

I do not want to appear in any way insensitive to this horrible event, but I do feel a certain amount of frustration with it all. The vast majority of people who are frozen in grief over Diana never met her, certainly never knew her, and definitely did not gain anything by their obsession with her. That is a stark contrast to the world's reaction to another royal death.

Jesus Christ is divine royalty, the heavenly Lord of Lords (Acts 2:36). He was killed in the prime of His life, but His death was not an accident. It was according to the "predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23), and the purpose for that plan was that the world would not perish. Jesus' life was not taken from Him; He freely gave it (John 10:18). He gave it for ever person (Hebrews 2:9).

There is no need to try to determine who is guilty for the death of Jesus. It was not merely the Roman soldiers who pounded home the spikes. It was not merely the Jewish priests whose envy turned to murderous hatred. In reality, the whole world was responsible for Christ's death, because it was in order to save the world that Jesus died (John 3:16). More specifically, it was God's love that arranged for Jesus to die for our sins.

The day Christ died the crowds were celebrating His death. Only a handful of Jewish women stood in respect at His cross. His grave was not adorned with thousands of floral arrangements, and there wasn't even a funeral.

What an irony! Diana died, and millions of people grieve. Jesus died -- for us --- and the majority of people don't even care. Those of us who do appreciate the sacrifice of the King of Kings must live in a way that honors His death, and explain to the world why His death matters.

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Last Updated Sept. 7, 1997 by
Bob Cleek bcleek@niia.net

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