A great hero… humble…gracious…example of love and forgiveness…no revenge…no militancy…inspired a real sense of hope and purpose…a legend…a man of peace…a freedom fighter…he changed the future of his country…a revolutionary who brought his country out of the darkness…he changed our world…South Africa’s most outstanding son…he was Nelson Mandela.
As the tributes poured in they included:
- His legacy was emphasis on reconciliation. (De Klerk)
- He loved because of his courage, convictions, and care of others… he transcended race and class in his personal excellence, his warmth, and his willingness to listen and empathize with others…he restored others’ faith in Africa and Africans. (Desmond Tutu)
- The world has lost a great moral leader and statesman; he left prison with his mind closed to any settling of scores and his heart open to those he had fought against. (Prime Minister Stephen Harper)
- He is no longer with us but his legacy lives on. (Dali Lama)
- He will inspire generations. (Pope Francis)
- He had a profound effect on people around the world. He put the ideals of freedom and justice above all else. He demanded change and inspired it. (Andrew Nichols, CBC)
- In his eyes there was no sense of anger or bitterness or need for retribution. It was all about forgiveness and looking forward. (Suhana Meharchand, CBC, born in So. Africa under apartheid)
- We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages. (Barack Obama)
- He was a champion of freedom. (Bill Clinton)
- He accomplished a mission of using his mind, body, and suffering to end the racist political apartheid system…he chose to get ahead rather than get even. (Jesse Jackson)i
Indeed, the world has lost a great man and leader and we are sad he is no longer with us. His spirit and all he achieved will live on in our memories.
Two thousand years ago, another great person entered the world and changed it forever. He was also humble, gracious, showed no militancy, listened to those ostracized by others, opened not His mouth when insulted, took no revenge when betrayed and beaten, and extended compassion on all regardless of race, social status, occupation, or moral standing. However,
He is love.
He grants forgiveness.
He is the author of hope.
He gives purpose to life.
He is the Prince of Peace.
He sets us free.
He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He was a revolutionary who brought the world out of the darkness of sin and into the kingdom of light.
He is God’s Beloved Son.
He reconciles all men to Him.
He restores faith in Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He accomplished God the Father’s mission of providing salvation for mankind.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel,” the prophet Isaiah foretold.ii This name means, “God with us”. Christ’s birth ushered in a new era when He left His home in heaven and humbled Himself to become fully human while still fully divine. He walked on this earth knowing His life would be offered up in exchange for the deliverance and freedom God had planned. His death on the cross brings forgiveness of sin; His resurrection to life defeats sin’s power; and His return to Heaven inspires hope of an eternity spent with Him.
Immanuel lives on not just in our memories but also within the heart of every believer who places their faith in Him. His life on earth was definitely all about forgiveness and looking forward to the promise of spending forever with Him in the home He is preparing for us now.
I love the words from the song by “Mercy Me”:
All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified:
Emmanuel, God with us.
My heart sings a brand new song.
The debt is paid, these chains are gone.
Emmanuel, God with us.iii
Until next time,
iAll quotes from CBC coverage, December 6, 2013