Week of April 15
The Death of the King
by Skip Heitzig
The death of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, or “King Tut,” has been a mystery ever since his remains were found in Egypt in 1922. Some people believe this minor, 19-year-old monarch was murdered, and others think he died in a terrible accident. But some scholars have used modern DNA testing on the mummy to come up with another answer. They discovered that the frail young king not only suffered from a congenital bone disease, but also had malaria. They concluded that the malaria killed him after his immune system was weakened when he suffered a broken leg.
Of course, I bring this up to talk about the death of a much more important King. In the case of Jesus Christ, how He died is well documented. The crucifixion is described in scripture, and it is graphically portrayed in the film, “The Passion of the Christ.”
But the “why” is what I want to focus on. Each year around Easter, the national news magazines print articles on religion. A few years ago, U.S. News and World Report did one called “Why was Jesus Killed?” It was typical of these articles, with a story about Jesus being in conflict with the Romans. And none of it was even close to the truth.
We shouldn’t try to find new people to blame for the death of Jesus—“it was the Jews,” “it was the Romans,” etc. The truth is, I put Jesus on the cross. And so did you. He died for my sins, and yours, and those of all the world. It was not a colossal mistake, or some kind of a murder plot. It was a divine appointment. Jesus came into this world to pay for the sins of you and me.
Listen to what Jesus said at one point. “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again” (see John 10:18). The cross was, of course, Jesus’ goal—from birth, and even before birth. Somewhere in eternity past, the Father and the Son and the Spirit conferred, and it was decided upon. Since mankind had gotten itself in such a dilemma with sin, from the Garden of Eden onward, something had to be done that was drastic in nature. That’s what the cross was about.
The DNA evidence won’t stop the speculation about King Tut’s death. But when you read the “new evidence” about Christ in this year’s religious article in a news magazine, take it with a grain of salt. Jesus died for you, and for me. It’s that simple—and that wonderful!
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