“Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead” – John 12:9
This passage encourages and challenges me at the same time. I’m encouraged because the masses are still attracted to Jesus, who remains the main event and primary crowd pleaser. That’s good. However, the people are also interested in seeing Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. That’s the challenging part.
This challenge leads me to a difficult question: If people are naturally attracted to a resurrected life, are they attracted to my life? Furthermore, if people are not attracted to me, I have to wonder if I’m living the resurrected life Jesus came to give. Maybe this is what Paul had in mind when he wrote to the Philippians, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection . . . and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
The word resurrection literally means, to “place” or “stand up.” To the Greek mind of Paul’s day, the living people were standing up and the dead people were lying down. Perhaps Paul was giving his readers the image of a spiritually resurrected man walking among those who are spiritually dead and on their backs.
That’s a great image, but how do we do that? How do we live our Christian life in such an extreme manner that we appear as a living, walking body in a room full of corpses? How do we live like a resurrected body among the spiritually dead? What sets us apart from them? How will they know we are alive?
Before I get to that, I know what does not say we’re alive. It not our Christian T-shirts or fancy Bible covers. Blaring Christian music at work, much to the disdain of our non-Christian co-workers won’t be effective. It won’t be bowing the head in prayer and pious humility before eating lunch (all the while making sure everyone sees us doing it). It won’t be a Christian bumper sticker (do they still sell those or am I dating myself?), or speaking in tongues of men and of angels.
What will set us apart from the crowd is the evidence of the fruit of the spirit. The availability of love when we’re hated (hard to imagine, but some people don’t like you. Or me.); joy when there is tension and sorrow and no reason to be happy; peace when our world is falling apart; patience when everyone around us shouts “NOW is the time to move” but the spirit says “Wait.”; kindness when angry words are thrown our way.
If Christ has given us the power to walk spiritually resurrected among the spiritually dead, then it will be a living and active spirit of Christ that people will notice, and they’ll notice it because they cannot imitate it. Anyone can make a show of bowing their heard over a meal or playing Christian music, but nobody can fake the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, the joy that moves beyond happiness and temporary circumstances, and a love that is unconditionally focused on another the person’s best, even if it means putting our self aside.
I want to be an upright man who walks among the dead, attracting and inviting people to walk with me. However, if people are going to be attracted to my resurrected life, let it be only as a means to introduce them to the true Resurrection and the Life.
Love the dialog among the dead. I would suggest also as you talk about the spiritually dead, what if we entertain the thought the the text also references the physically dead. If we walk in the power and authority that Christ offered us and the disciples and walk out the instructions of;
Matthew 10:7-8 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[b]drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
And the charge of John 14:12;
12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I truly believe in walking among the spiritually dead but also the physical. I am ready to leak God’s presence on anyone he chooses I want to be obedient to go where he leads and pray where asks. I want the fruit to be evident because there are sign and wonders when the presence of God show up through me. I want to live out loud. Just thinking out loud and out of the box!
Everyone wants to walk in His resurrection, but not so many want to die with Him first.
Great Point Marlyn…I just blogged about that the other day. Are people TRULY willing to pay the cost that comes with the resurrection. Jesus paid the cost TWICE…
Once–When he ascended from Heaven
the SECOND time–when he died on the cross.
And it was through those sacrificeS that His resurrection was possible.
I don’t think people TRULY understand the cost of it all. I hear lots of times: I pay the cost with time, effort, energy, etc…and I don’t doubt that those are true sacrifices, I believe I make those as well. However, the extent of your ‘resurrection’ I believe corresponds directly with the price you are willing to pay.
Is “Walking among the Dead” the same as being aliens in this world? When the realization comes that we are in this world of the dead, but alive only to Christ? When the emptiness of the things of this world is only replaced by dwelling on God’s Word and coming alive and breathing and being in Him? No wonder the men on the road to Emmaus (sp?) said their hearts burned within them while He walked and talked with them!
Am really enjoying your thoughts, Jim.
Actually, I think walking among the dead means living so differently that people are attracted to Christ through our lifestyle before they hear our words. For me, living as an alien in this world means I don’t hold tightly to anything here — friends, family, job, ministry, things, house, cars, etc. — because my everlasting home is in another place and in another dimension. Thanks for reading my blogs. It is good to know the little that I write is causing people to think, giving them hope, and in some small way, helping them grow closer to Christ and live the life He died for us to have.
That makes sense. Thanks, Jim!
You wrote this two and a half years ago, but I still enjoy reading it. The TRUTH remains true forever!
Thank you, Marlyn.