My friend sent me this text message the other day:
“I just heard someone say, ‘Easter is when we celebrate zombie Jesus; it’s just back in the day they called it resurrection.’”
And I laughed.
But then I thought about something my New Testament professor said last semester:
“Resurrection is not resuscitation.
Resuscitation remains fixed within the bounds of time and space.
Within this view this means Jesus spent three days in the tomb and got back up and went to work on Monday.
This may be good news for Jesus but not for the world.
Resuscitation means that mortality is only deferred, not overcome.”
–Luke Timothy Johnson
And that is what I wish my Sunday School teachers had been able to tell me when I was a child.
(“How do you know that Jesus wasn’t just in a coma? With science, lots of people come back to life after being medically dead in the hospital… what if Jesus just had really, really good technology?”)
No, in the resurrection, Death itself is overcome.
This is greater than resuscitation: this is transformative–permanently, for all people.
And the joke about zombie Jesus?
Zombie-ism isn’t even asserting resuscitation—it’s resuscitation without a will or a soul.
When soul-less zombies come back, the undead attack the living.
Zombie Jesus, indeed.