by Stan Mitchell
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).
On Saturday, June 5th, 2004 there was a death. His name was Takemore Mukandi, and he was four years old. He died outside a mud and thatch hut in the lovely land of Malawi, within sight of the beautiful lake that gives the country its name. He preceded his mother, who lies in the shade of the hut, stricken with AIDS, the 21st Century’s most terrifying plague. No mention was made in a newspaper of Takemore’s passing. His mother cannot even grieve, for she floats in her own swell of pain and suffering.
On Saturday, June 5th, 2004, there was another death. His name was Ronald Wilson Reagan, and he was ninety two years old. For eight years he was the most powerful man on earth, and when he died television and newspapers spoke of little else but his death for a week.
Dignitaries, presidents, members of the supreme court and diplomats lauded his life. It would seem that Takemore and Ronald had as much in common as a stick of chalk and a hunk of cheese.
But they had one thing very much in common. They were mortal. We all die, famous and obscure, there are no exceptions. Death is our most human trait of all. And Jesus shared this, the most human mark of all. He need not have, but he did.
And his is a death that ought to be spoken of often, for if it is his death that makes him human, his resurrection is what makes us divine.