Sadly, almost fifty Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the last three years in protest of the Chinese government’s oppression of Tibet. Today’s Wall Street Journal Houses of Worship article (here) reflects on this practice of self-immolation and its meaning.
The purpose of such self-imposed martyrdom is to draw attention to the plight of a people. However, the article notes that even the Dalai Lama “called the self-immolators ‘courageous’’ but questioned whether the suicides have any impact.” How different from the death of Christ!
Christians know that Christ willingly offered himself as a sacrifice (though not through suicide) with the certainty that his death, and subsequent resurrection, would actually accomplish redemption for his people. When he cried out “It is finished,” it really was. The impact of the death of Christ is that the wrath of God has been satisfied and that people oppressed by the bonds of sin have been redeemed. Tibet needs to know this freedom most of all.
May the Lord grant salvation in Tibet! Then people will cease to offer themselves as dying sacrifices and instead offer their bodies as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God!