So i’d speculate that in the past 5 years there’s been a real resurgence of zombies (as well as vampires) into modern culture. To be fair, zombies have been interesting writing and entertainment material for quite some time. From the 1960’s zombie horror flicks, the idea of the living dead has been around for quite sometime. But since Resident Evil introduced the zombie genre into videogames in 1996, there’s been a rise in zombie related stuff. I mean Sega even introduced an educational “learn-to-type-by-shooting-zombies” videogame in 1999 (with subsequent “sequels.”)
Zombies, are strange, because they are alive, and yet not. Mindless drones, with a sole purpose of eating brains. They simply consume lives and everything they eat becomes another zombie. And no matter how much they eat, they never become alive. (I suppose that’s why videogames like them so much – there’s little remorse in killing swathes of zombies).
In John 11, as Jesus calls Lazarus to come forth from the tomb, a modern reader might almost imagine a zombie or a mummy coming out of the tomb. A half-decayed, linen rolled being wandering out of the tomb. But Lazarus comes out alive as can be. Actually, Jesus is making a statement about life and death. Even though Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, he suggests that the life that we have on earth is only temporary. It is not lasting. And even though Lazarus has come back from the dead, he will physically die again.
In the conversation with Lazarus’ sister before this miracle, Jesus says: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Jesus wants Mary, and the others to know that nothing is impossible with God. In fact, even raising someone from the dead is small potatoes. The big revelation here is not that Jesus can raise someone from the dead — no the big revelation here is that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the Saviour of the World. And that he has the words of life. And that he is the only one who can conquer death forever. That true life only comes from him. Whoever believes (trusts, places faith, follows, commits) in Jesus will never die. Jesus is the revelation of true, full life.
I’m realising more and more that much of life here is lived in decay – a bit like a zombie. Locked into entertainment, fleeting relationships, and shallow conversations. Days can roll by easily, with our lives filled with things to do, yet seemingly empty. Like a zombie, it’s easy to lose focus – to be interested in only destroying one another with our words and actions and never being satisfied.
Jesus talks about coming to bring life, and life to the full (John 10:10). And then in John 11 he raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus wants to bring a full life. Not just a full schedule. Not just full bellies. He wants you to know full life resurrected with Him.
And so my prayer is
Lord with the dawn of this new day, let my life be brought to life by your Spirit. Let your words of life breathe new life into this dry and weary soul. Let this day be consecrated for you. May your Son be the light that lights my every path, redeems my every thought, and guards my every word.
in Jesus name,
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
These were some thoughts from our current series The Remarkable Life of Jesus and our Strong and Courageous Life in Him. The message from John 11 is available here, and all our previous messages are available on the Sunday messages page.