The people of North Korea are in mourning following the death of their leader, Kim Jong-il. Many people have filed past his open coffin as the nation has been “engulfed in indescribable sadness.” Kim Jong-il’s son Kim Jong-un has already been installed as his father’s successor. Kim Jong-il was presented to his people as a father-figure and demi-god – all-powerful and benevolent.
What legacy has Kim Jong-il left? His rule has been repressive for the people of North Korea, who are very poor. Shortly after he came to power in 1994, a severe famine, caused by his economic reforms and poor harvests, left an estimated two million people dead. His regime was guilty of human rights abuses and developed great military power, including nuclear weapons. Today many cannot afford to buy food or to heat their homes. Since 1948 a Demilitarised Zone has divided North and South Korea. Families have been separated. Some people have escaped from North Korea to China, at great risk to their lives. No doubt Kim Jong-il was very rich, but now he has died and left this world naked, as he entered it, and has stood before the living God.
How very different the reign of Jesus Christ is! He is the greatest of kings, yet he was born in humble circumstances and never even owned a home of his own. He came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. The kingdom Jesus established has spread throughout the world, embracing people from many nations. The empires of the world have come and gone, but the Kingdom of God has continued to grow.
Living under the lordship of Jesus Christ brings great blessings. He freely accepts us as we are, and forgives all our sins. He promises to be with us always and to help us in every situation. He gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. At the time of the 1994 famine some Christians wanted to help the people of North Korea by sending them food. They also wanted them to know that Jesus loved them. So they sent many sacks of food into North Korea and put a message on each sack, “With love from Jesus“. Many of the people who received the food were full of thankfulness to Jesus, of whom they had never heard before, because of his love for them.