Dead Man Talking
My title today is a play on words from the movie, “Dead Man Walking” which according to Wikipedia starred Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon…I didn’t see it and I have no idea what the movie is about. I just thought it was a cute play on words. Anyway, in Luke 7 we have an amazing incident that gets very little discussion. A young man who was the only son of his mother has died and his body is being carried outside of the village. The Bible says that Jesus has compassion on her, touched the coffin and said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to you, arise”. The man sits up in the coffin and begins to speak. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the dead man who is now alive spoke. I think it would be great to know what he said. Did he praise God? Did he ask for a sandwich? Did he have an out of body experience to share? We don’t know. The Bible then goes on to say that fear came upon all the people and they glorified God.
That’s all the bible has to say about it. End of story….but I want to know more, don’t you? But apparently, for us, the details of the story are not as important as the fact that Jesus raised the dead man. You and I have a choice about what to believe when we read events like this in the Bible. Do we really believe them? Do we really think that Jesus raised a man from the dead…and the other miracles that He did? Or do we reject the miracles as being added by the men who wrote the bible? If you don’t believe that Jesus did this, then I suppose you can’t believe anything that has been written about Jesus. The language is so “matter of fact”…it’s not made out to be as significant as I would like it to be; or as significant as I think I would have written it. The author, Luke, wasn’t there when it happened. He likely got his information from someone else, perhaps Peter.
How do you treat raising someone from the dead so matter of factly? Perhaps it is because of the magnitude of the resurrection of Jesus and the impact it had on others. As Luke writes this, 30-40 years after it happened, the magnitude of the dead man talking has been dwarfed by the magnitude of the dead man, Jesus, rising. The aftermath of the resurrection of Jesus was so much more important and compelling, that even raising a dead man gets only a paragraph. I wonder if the dead man was talking about that??? Are we talking about that???