Easter, Jesus, and The Walking Dead
by Doug Zieber
With all of our worlds so recently turned upside down, terms like virus and pandemic have a greater relevance and impact than in our known lifetimes. However, the possibility of the entire human race being infected with a common plague has been a theme of popular culture for nearly a century. It was given a boost in 1968 with the release of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and recently reached its stride with season 10 of The Walking Dead TV series.
One of the classic lines of this immensely popular show was uttered in Season 2 as a lead character admits, “We’re all infected…whatever it is, we all carry it.” This profound statement clearly reminds us that one can hardly look at societal themes like zombies and The Walking Dead and not be overwhelmingly reminded of important subjects of our faith such as sin and the resurrection.
Not only do these societal themes remind us of gospel truths, but especially at a time like Easter, they can also provide an incredible bridge for us to have faith conversations with unchurched relatives, friends, neighbours or work associates, especially those with a fascination for the zombie genre.
Our post-Christian culture, with its focus on materialism and rejection of faith, can’t help but feed the fatalistic and nihilistic world the zombies occupy. Hope is rarely seen and survival is often entirely void of love, compassion and sacrifice for others. Like a beautiful oasis in a post-apocalyptic desert, Christ’s true resurrection from the dead, as celebrated at Easter, provides the ultimate expression of hope for all of mankind, the complete and one and only cure from sin – the disease of the human soul that has plagued us all since creation.
That is why it’s more important than ever to try to build bridges, to try to engage a broken world with the truth of the Gospel, the good news that we can share. Our loved ones are drowning in a society without answers, without hope. Materialism, Marxism, Nihilism, Evolution and other Godless philosophies offer no answers for the brokenness and infection of the human soul. Only Jesus Christ, who defeated death, offers everyone true hope.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (MSG), is paraphrased this way: “If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”
Easter is a time where we celebrate resurrection and new life! Jesus Christ has led the way and is “…first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries”. Unlike the zombie culture of today, it will be a resurrection to life, a resurrection of the walking living, those who are redeemed both spiritually and physically and not a resurrection of the walking dead, those without hope.
Contemporary culture has always presented amazing opportunities to engage the world around us and present Jesus Christ as the one true answer. Easter and The Walking Dead are fantastic examples of this.
Charles Spurgeon declared that “The Gospel is like a caged lion”. It does not need to be defended, it just needs to be let out of its cage.” While many of us have experienced the reluctance of an unchurched friend to discuss religion, many would gladly engage in a discussion about contemporary culture. Let us learn how we can build bridges through these discussions and then ultimately through love, hope and relationship, “help release the lion”.
Pastor Doug Zieber has had a huge variety of life experience having spent many years in construction, advertising, IT, education, politics and ministry. He is currently the Pastor of Church Ministries at Calvary Community Church and Executive Director of Mill Woods Christian School in Edmonton. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology (Cum Laude) and his Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. He’s been (mostly) happily married for 32 years, has 3 children and 1.5 grandchildren. Most importantly, he is passionate about reaching the unchurched with the good news of the Gospel by making it relevant to culture and everyday life.