“Dead People Walking”

In one of Jesus’ parables directed at the Scribes and Pharisees, He quotes Abraham’s answer to the unjust rich man, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Lk 16:19-31) We live in a culture today that largely scoffs and ridicules a bodily resurrection. Ironically, they also relish the zombie movies and stories. The leaders to whom Jesus directed this parable were no different, they ignored and mocked such an idea.

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was dead for 4 days before Jesus raised him from the grave. (Jo 11:38-44) Even after such a great miracle, the Jewish leaders did not humble themselves nor change their program. (Jo 11:50, 57) At Jesus’ transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Him on the mountain and were recognized by Peter. (Mt 17:3-4) At Jesus’ death, “the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” (Mt 27:51-53) Jesus himself is the best example of a formerly dead man walking, preaching and eating again. (Mt 27: 9-10) (Lk 24:13-35) (Jo 21:12-14)

However, all these miracles, which confirmed the statement of Abraham in the parable, did not change the attitude of the Jewish leaders. They continued to harass and persecute the Apostle and the members of the 1st Century churches as if none of these things had ever happened. (Acts 1-28)

Even today Christians who affirm life after death are ignored and mocked by a great number of unbelievers. The changed life and good deeds of the new converts fails to convince them. Yet the dead now walk again in a figurative sense for all who obey and are in Him through immersion. (Rom 6:3-7) (Acts 2:38) None of us saw Lazarus, Moses, Elijah or Jesus after their resurrection, but we who, “have not seen and yet believe are blessed.” (Jo 20:29) We can do all this through a softened heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Jo 20:30-31) (Eph 3:16)
—Jim Bailey