Andries Tatane’s death and the death of Jesus of Nazareth bear some remarkable similarities and differences.
Both men were 33 years old, guilty of no crime, yet treated with contempt, beaten, and killed by the authorities of the day. Both men’s death was terrible and tragic. Both men’s death also achieved results for their people.
Jesus’ death, however, was voluntary. Andries’ death was involuntary. Andries Tatane did not wake up planning and knowing he would die. On the other hand, from the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus said that he must die and give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus death was also vicarious. Jesus unambiguously said that he must die for others. He said that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus suffered, was abandoned, and died to take upon himself the full wrath of God for the sin of God’s people. Jesus died not for his own sin, but that of others.
Jesus death was also infinitely valuable. Andries Tatane’s death may have some short term service delivery benefits for his community. Jesus’ death however has infinite benefits for people of every generation, every nation, every culture and every age. Through trust in Jesus as Lord and God your eternal salvation is secured, you are adopted in God’s very own family, and your sins are completely, utterly forgiven.
The violence of Andries Tatane’s death has rightly angered the people of South Africa. Let us remember another violent death. And be angered at our sin. And then be driven to the cross, where God’s anger was poured out on Jesus so that we may experience his love.