One moment we thought we were in charge. We had cleaned out the trash. We dealt with the upstart. We went back to what we were doing.
The next, the world went upside down. We didn’t notice. If we did, we would say otherwise.
I love The Walking Dead. Love it. A show about humans surviving in a world that has drastically changed. The dead get up and walk. We don’t know why they can do that. It seems like it has something to do with infection but we don’t know. There was no mention of Vodou sorcerer or witches so it doesn’t seem to do with magic.
In that world, it’s every man for himself trying to survive and maybe—if they’re lucky—forming a tight community that cares for its own. When the dead rise everyone takes notice and acts appropriately because the living dead are out to get them.
In that world wasn’t a real change from our world. The show (more so the comic) peels back the veneer of society to unveil the ugliness in humans now that they have the excuse of survival. Anyone dies. And in the mean time they live how they want.
But like I said, everything changed.
Some two thousand years ago a man physically got up from the grave. He didn’t go around eating people. He wasn’t a mindless re-animated corpse or a trapped soul forced to walk around until the spell comes apart.
This man, the one who stopped being dead, spoke about his dying and undying before it happened. This man pointed out the utter contingency of the rulers’ authority as they planned to kill him. This man came with the explicit plan that consisted of a cruel death and a silent resurrection. This man told us that we were so screwed up that he had to die. This man told us that we were so screwed up that when he lived again, we’d still reject him.
So he stop being dead. And he purposefully showed himself to a few.
Not to rulers. Or kings. Or scientists. But to about five hundred and fourteen people. Probably a few more in there.
Lives would be changed. First century Jews, who would never dare worship a man over God, would turn around and call this man, this Jesus, Yahweh, The Lord God. They would suffer for their message. They would die professing Jesus as Yahweh. Within five years of this young man’s death, people will pray to him saying “Come Lord Jesus!”
Everything changed; people noticed and ignored the curiosity.
We didn’t realize that our so-called power was given a time stamp. We didn’t realize that over us all ruled the very one that we rejected as unfit to rule. We continued to bask in our self-aggrandizement with an idol made in our own image not realizing that the very one who was given authority to stamp out the idols was killed by our hands and now lived.
And now, we rail against him as if he were a joke. A bit of fiction. We can compare him to other fictions. Or even modern fictions. Put him in a safe box. Or maybe, he was an interesting historical figure that we can agree with the parts we like then ignore everything else. Like Thomas Jefferson. Only with longer hair. Maybe he’s just an interesting source of discussion—using our theological toothpicks to poke holes in religion. Or maybe he’s a punch line if we really want to emphasize our annoyance. He’s a nothing that has no say in our life. He’s a moral flag we can wave in front of our political positions. He’s the happy face we can employ when we wish to applaud our sinfulness and give it public approval. Six feet of meat standing up on its hind legs with fists to the sky while we prop up a Jesus Christ made in our own image so that we don’t have to see the implications of the resurrection of the Son of God.
Everything changed; and we don’t want to be told about it.
If this message is false, then we Christians are a sad joke. Safely ignored. Live how you want. Eat. Get drunk. Be happy. Because tomorrow comes and then we all die. Nothing stops the fast-moving wheel of time.
But if this is true—that the Maker, the Lord God, became a man who was seen and handled and performed miracles and taught; who finally was handed over and killed; who then rose on the third day with power and authority—then people better wake up.
Everything changed so take notice. Christians, take up the clarion call: Christos Anesti! Unbeliever hear the warning and repent: Christ is risen! He will return to judge both the living and the dead. Every knee will most definitely bow.
Christ is risen!