IN THE CANDID CORNER: He’s not dead! He’s alive!
. . . He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was He stricken. – Isaiah 53:8
As I followed the developments which led to the raid and killing of the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, the arrest, crucifixion, death and resurrection of a man who changed the face of world came readily to mind.
While I have serious reservations about making any comparisons between Jesus – King of the Jews – and the Al Qaeda mastermind, I beg leave for the purposes of this week’s column to bring some analysis to bear on these ‘life-changing’ events.
On one hand, Osama bin Laden raged a war of terror that changed the texture and tone of geopolitics and relationships between the East and West. On the other, is Jesus Christ, the greatest man ever to walk the earth and whose influence and transforming power is everlasting.
Just over 2 000 years ago, the man called Jesus was born in a lowly manger among the ox and the ass. His coming was foretold by the prophets.
In Isaiah, Chapter 6:9, we read: “For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder . . . . His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor . . . the Prince of Peace.” In Numbers 24:17, we also read: “. . . there shall come a star out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel . . . .” Micah proclaims: “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto to me that is to be ruler in Israel.”
Throughout history, the influence Jesus had on the lives of people has never been equalled or surpassed.
There is no greater leader who has inspired so many positive changes in the lives of his followers. People who encounter the risen Christ are totally transformed.
Staying true to their faith, they do not hesitate to face hardship, persecution and even death. Many devote their lives to serving others, minimizing their own needs and desires.
Following Jesus’ crucifixion, his disciples were devastated. They had abandoned Him in the Garden of Gethsemane to save their own lives. But after they met the resurrected Christ, they were radically changed. Suddenly, they were willing to give their lives to tell Jesus’ story to the world.
On September 11, 2001, the commercial hub of the world’s greatest nation was attacked and bombed at the hands of Al Qaeda under the command of Osama bin Laden.
For many who watched in utter disbelief, the events of that morning seemed surreal and scary. People were yelling and screaming and the great big United States was terrified.
The world watched with ‘mouth agape’ and a war on “terror” was born. For more than a decade, the Americans and their allies were in hot pursuit of the perpetrators of this heinous crime that saw thousands killed with many burnt alive.
The might of the “Great Big US of A” was reduced to ‘zero’ and the country humiliated in the market square of international public opinion.
Ever since then, the Americans were determined to flush out any semblance of terror, real or imaginary. So determined was America, and justifiably so, that they pushed aside the United Nations Security Council and went into Iraq on the pretence that the country was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam Hussein was captured and executed and the infrastructure of oil-rich Iraq bombarded. The Americans were in hot pursuit of justice.
In the early hours of May 2, 2011, the Americans got their revenge. After months of surveillance and intelligence, two helicopters stealthily hovered above a small city of Abbottabad in Pakistan and within minutes, the biggest manhunt in history ended.
The prize represented the most important death of the 21st century so far. Neither the West nor the East will ever see the evidence of the gory conclusion to the pursuit of the world’s most wanted ‘criminal’.
The US Seals quickly escaped with the body which, according to reports, was washed and wrapped in a sheet and dumped in the Arabian Sea.
Osama bin Laden is dead! One thing is sure, he will never walk this earth again.
Back in the garden of Gethsemane, there were no stealth helicopters hovering over. The man who was “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” was betrayed by a kiss and abandoned by his own disciples.
The world’s first sceptic, the unbelieving Thomas, needed to thrust his hands in the wound to believe. Women also featured highly at Jesus’ death and resurrection. The body was wrapped and prepared using special cloths and spices. The tomb was sealed.
As Christians, our hope is in the glorious resurrection which saw Him burst forth triumphant! At Easter, we sing with calm assurance: “He’s not dead! He’s Alive!” Alive within the ‘nooks’ and ‘crannies’ of our lives. As Christians we believe that one day, He is coming back again!