“He Died”

The amount of ink used to report the most significant death in history is strikingly small when compared to the detail a modern-day novelist might give it. The death of Jesus Christ is reported with these three words, “…they crucified Him”.

Perhaps it is because people to whom the Gospel accounts were originally written were already familiar with the gruesome details associated with the word “crucified.” Or perhaps it is because the significance of how he died pales when compared to what His death accomplished. After all, thousands of others died by the same means.

I found an insight into the brevity of the description of Jesus’ death in a peculiar place; the film, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Mr. Magorium informs his toy store assistant that he is going away. Mr. Magorium is going to die, but his assistant fails to grasp it. The most touching scene in the movie comes when Dustin Hoffman attempts to comfort his protégé. Standing with both hands in his coat pockets he says to her,

When King Lear dies in Act 5, do you know what he has written? He’s written, “He dies.” That’s all. Nothing more. No fan fair. No metaphor. No brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is, “He dies.” It took Shakespeare’s genius to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read these two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysforia. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “he dies,” but because of the life we saw prior to those words. I’ve lived all five of my Acts, Mahoney, and I’m not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the next page. Continue reading and let the next story begin. And if anyone ever asks what became of me you relate my life and all its wonder and end it with a simple modest, “He died.”

It is in the life Jesus lived that makes the words “…they crucified Him” so profound. Jesus so stirred up the animosity of those around Him that they put Him to death. His death overwhelmed His disciples with dysforia, but, eventually, they went everywhere preaching all the wonders of his life and they ended the story, not only with the “simple modest” words, “…they crucified Him,” but also with the words, “He is risen.”


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