By Justin Perdue
Chadwick Boseman recently died from colon cancer. He was 43 years old. His passing has affected many people, myself included. We continue to pray for Christ’s mercy on his family and loved ones. Though Chadwick’s acting career was relatively brief, it was significant. He delivered a number of memorable performances, but none were more notable than his portrayal of King T’Challa in Black Panther. As any gifted actor does with his character, he brought King T’Challa to life on screen.
I am grateful for Chadwick Boseman’s performance. It is one of those pieces of art that will stick with me. King T’Challa—and Wakanda under his rule—stirs my heart and creates a sense of longing in me. T’Challa is a good king. He is just. He is upright. He loves his people. He sacrifices himself for their good. I’ve seen Black Panther several times, and each time I have watched it, I find myself thinking, “I want King T’Challa to be my king.”
King T’Challa is as good of a pop-culture depiction of a righteous king as I have ever seen. He well represents the final words of King David from 2 Samuel 23:
“When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.” (2 Samuel 23:3-4)
We all long for such a ruler. We all long for a righteous king, who will execute justice, who will protect us from all our enemies, and who will give us peace—forever. God has given us such a king. His name is Jesus.
“Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
King Jesus laid his life down for us. He took our sin upon himself and atoned for all of our iniquity. He has born our transgressions. He has taken them away from us, and by his stripes, we are healed.
King Jesus has provided us with his own righteousness. His perfect, obedient life is credited to us. He stands, indestructible and unshakable, as our representative. We have been united to him. And everything that is his, is ours.
King Jesus is our protector. He is our refuge. We take shelter in him. He has us in his hands, and no one can ever pluck us out.
King Jesus is our deliverer. He has conquered all of our enemies. He has crushed the head of the ancient serpent, who is the devil. He has defeated death and hell. Christ is victorious. He has triumphed. When he comes again for us, we will be raised imperishable in him. We will be with him. We will reign with him. We will forever praise our glorious king.
I’m grateful for the common grace means God gives us that display his glory, his grace, and his plan of redemption. For me, Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of King T’Challa in Black Panther is one of those means.