The End of Tyranny image

The End of Tyranny

In what was perhaps the pithiest statement of the week veteran Zimbabwean campaigner David Colthart observed, “We have removed a tyrant but not yet a tyranny.”

It is good when tyrants fall. The resignation of Robert Mugabe deservedly caused huge celebrations on the streets of Harare – and there is probably no people as naturally gifted at celebrating as the Zimbabweans! The conviction of Ratko Mladic the following day was also good news in a troubled world; an important step in helping to lay to rest many ghosts. But the reality remains that both Zimbabwe and Bosnia are troubled places. It takes more than the fall of a tyrant to fix things: tyranny must end too.

I happened to be up to Matthew 2 in my Bible reading yesterday. In very undramatic form Matthew records the death of another tyrant:

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’ (Matt. 2:19-20)

A tyrant had died; tyranny remained:

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. (Matt. 2:22)

It is only a week until the beginning of Advent, and the story of the flight to Egypt will be read again and again. Every time it is read, and every Christmas, we anticipate the death of tyranny. Herods and Mugabes will continue to rise and fall, just as they always have, but we look to the vulnerable baby who escaped a tyrant and then by his own death defeated the tyranny of sin and death. Because of that victory we anticipate the end of all tyranny. That is good news!


(I can’t quite believe I’ve just posted the first Christmas-themed post of the year on Think – wonders never cease!)



← Prev article
Next article →