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October 29, 2012

Zombies Are for Real

After diving into Scripture this fall, I’ve found there’s more to the zombie craze than what’s on TV—essentially, the truth of Christ's resurrection.

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As a child, I always looked forward to Halloween. It was exciting to turn into a comic book super hero and receive a sweet reward for saying three words: Trick or Treat? Unfortunately, today the innocence of hunting for candy now competes with culture’s fascination with dark macabre.

I’m particularly intrigued by the growing “zombie craze.” Film critics promote innovators to the zombie film genre like 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, and most recently, the AMC television series The Walking Dead.

CNN asked Max Brooks, author of World War Z, about the current fascination with zombies. Brooks explained that young people often use zombies to discuss global problems in a fun and exciting way. For example, it’s now possible to purchase a zombie survival kit, or to learn how to pack your own.

And according to Dr. Ali Khan at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s important because, “If you are equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.”

Considering Dr. Khan’s statement, I wondered, Do zombies have anything to do with our Christian faith?

I know there’s a great book on the topic: Night of the Living Dead Christian. But of course, that’s fiction. And I’m not advocating that Sunday schools start showing zombie movies. However, Scripture does mention the undead—and they aren’t the gruesome figures we find haunting late-night TV stations. Rather, they’re powerful examples that God is greater than anything the human mind can imagine.

Sure, zombies are creepy, wild, and powerful. But zombies have nothing on Jesus, the master of life and death. It gives me chills to think about the absolute confidence and authority in Jesus’ voice as he proclaims his power to John in Luke 24:39: “Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”

Feeling the joy of being on the winning team gives me confidence to crush any opponent. Here’s a biblical roster of the resurrected:

• The son of Zarephath’s widow (1 Kings 17:17—24)
• The son of the great Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4)
• The dead man who comes back to life when he touches Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21)
• The widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:13—15)
• Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55)
• Lazarus (John 11:43—44)
• The saints resurrected at Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27:52—53)
• A female disciple named Tabitha (Acts 9:36—42)
• Eutychus (Acts 20:9—12)
• Perhaps even Paul (Acts 14:19—20)

Accounts of biblical resurrections aren’t for just light reading, but are recorded to remind us that God’s power can break through any barrier we can imagine. That includes every area of our daily lives.

Be encouraged that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead has been given to us. As Jesus says in Matthew 10:7—8: “Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”

The laws of life and death are no match for God’s divine sovereignty. So this Halloween, as I enjoy movies with friends—a buffet of scary flicks with ghosts, vampires, mummies, werewolves, and yes, even zombies, the likes of which I was never allowed to watch as a child—I can relax in the knowledge that they can’t beat the real promise and truth of resurrection. The son of both God and man died for our sins and rose from the dead, and my eventual encounter with the risen Jesus will far overshadow any terror shown on my TV screen. How do I know? Because the apostle John assures me in Revelation 1:17—18:

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’”

Zombies, indeed.

Ken Jansen is a worship pastor and CEO of Downpour International.

Related Tags: adventure, afterlife, awe, death, imagination, resurrection

Comments

Great article, Ken, and thanks for the shout out for Night of the Living Dead Christian!

Another great (non-fiction) book you might like is "Undead" by Clay Morgan. He actually goes through all the resurrection events you mention in his book!

--Matt

Ken, you are a man after my own undead heart! Awesome breakdown. I've spent the past year and a half thinking about this exact thing and it's true about Christians historically owning the best "zombie" tales. Thanks Matt for the shoutout.

Interesting to think of Jesus' rising from the dead as a form of zombie. When I read the title, I was thinking more about zombies as being those who don't know Christ, who are the walking dead, pre-life, as it were. That was always very frightening to me as a child, growing up with a mom who was depressed. Just a thought. I'm glad that we can go from living death to true life, even in death!

Great article, Ken. You remind us of wonderful examples of God's power overcoming death in many different settings. Power over death, what an awesome God we serve!

I listened to you talk about this and couldn't wait to read your article. Being from the "old school" of never watch anything scary....it was exciting to hear this Christian take on a popular fad. Cool article! One I will pass on to others.

Way to tie the scriptures into modern culture references! Thanks for the reminder of the almighty power of our God!!

Thank you all for the great comments! I hope this is an inspiring reminder about an Almighty God who wants to know us and give us life. And thank you Matt for being creative and brave enough to write a book coupling culture with Christianity. When we see God in everything, and share that sight with others, BIG things happen!

FIRE IT UP! WTG LOVE IT KEN!

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