“You’re a man of God! Have some faith!” – Rick
“I can’t profess to understand God’s plan. Christ promised a resurrection of the dead, I just thought he had something a little different in mind.” – Herschel
I have been a fan of The Walking Dead since two of my friends got me hooked last year. In many ways it reminds me of my favorite show, LOST, which is probably why I continue watching it despite how scared I am after some of the episodes. The Walking Dead isn’t just about a zombie apocalypse, an idea our culture is obsessed with now, but is a story about people who’ve joined forces to try and survive. While watching their struggle, it forces you to ask questions like “What would I do to survive?”or “What does it mean to be human?”
In the latest episode, the season finale of season 2, Herschel, a character who professes to be a Christian and is often basing his decisions off of his Christian beliefs, says something surprising. There have been many episodes where Herschel has expressed what he strongly believes, but it is in this episode where you start to see him doubt his faith in God. When Rick, the leader of the group, calls him out and tells him he’s supposed to be a man of God and to have some faith, Herschel responds with, “I can’t profess to understand God’s plan. Christ promised a resurrection of the dead, I just thought he had something a little different in mind.”
Though his statement is a bit ironic (surely Herschel doesn’t believe that the zombie apocalypse is really what Christ meant by there being a resurrection of the dead someday), I think it reveals truth about the difficulties in believing Christ’s promise of the resurrection to come. Even people in the Bible had a hard time believing this. Matthew 22:31-33 and Acts 17:32-33 both talk about people being astonished, some even mocking Jesus and Paul’s teaching of the resurrection of the dead.
Even when Christ resurrected from the dead, people didn’t believe. Thomas, one of his disciples, said he would not believe unless he saw the marks in his hands and put his hand in his side. So it’s no surprise that if people who were alive during the time of Christ had a hard time believing, that people even today still can’t wrap their mind around Christ’s resurrection and the future resurrection of all people.
But Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 to believe when he says,
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”’
Paul reminds us before this passage that if the dead are not raised, then Christ didn’t rise from the dead like he claims, which would mean our faith in him is in vain. We have no grounds to believe or put our hope in any of what the Bible says if Christ’s resurrection did not really happen. But Paul reminds us that in fact Christ really did resurrect. Christ really did defeat death in his resurrection, and because of that all are made alive in him. This means that we are freed from the chains of death and sin. We no longer have to fear death in this world because we have hope in the truth that at Christ’s return, we will receive resurrected bodies that are free from all weakness, illness, aging and death, because Christ will have destroyed death for all eternity.
So the resurrection of the dead that Christ promised is not a scary thing made up of zombies, as we see now in books, movies and TV shows. Rather, it is a glorious event where all God’s people who have fallen asleep will be resurrected and joined together to worship Christ forever in his Kingdom!