The Walking Dead is about life in a post-apocalyptic world. Police officer Rick Grimes comes out of a coma to discover a world overrun by zombies. He reunites with his family and unites with other survivors. But in their efforts to survive, he finds that humans can be crueler than zombies.
The show recently finished its sixth season and is scheduled to begin a seventh in the fall. It has more views than any other show in cable television history! And its fifth-season premiere was the most-watched episode in cable history.
To be honest, I don’t care for zombies. And I’ve never seen an episode of The Walking Dead. But I am intrigued by the possibilities it creates for sharing the gospel.
Think about it – if this is the most-watched show ever, shouldn’t we find a way to use it in our evangelism? The fact of the matter is that most people who watch it are zombies in their own way…
The Bible says that in our natural state, we are nothing more than spiritual zombies. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). We may have been alive physically, but spiritually we were dead.
That spiritual death expressed itself through our lifestyle. “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and followings its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (2:3)
That sounds a lot like a zombie, doesn’t it? Zombies don’t think; they just gratify their craving for human flesh. In the same way, we gave no thought to our actions; we just gratified our craving for sin.
Zombies are “objects of wrath.” People are horrified by them! Our only goal with a zombie is to contain or kill it. In the same way, we were horrifying to God. I wonder if our spiritual ugliness was as repulsive as a zombie’s physical ugliness? But fortunately, God didn’t treat us the way we treat zombies…
How to Bring a Zombie Back to Life
Here God does something unexpected. “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved” (2:4-5). Instead of trying to contain or kill us, God brought us back to life!
When our situation was most desperate, when we were totally helpless, when we could do nothing to be brought back to life, God made us alive in Christ. His grace is the only power that can bring a zombie back to life.
That spiritual life expresses itself through our lifestyle. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (2:10). Rather than mindlessly indulging our appetite for sin, we can now do the “good works” He has planned for us.
The Walking Dead is more than a show. It’s a useful analogy that helps us understand what God has done for us in Jesus. And its popularity has created a “market” for some strategic evangelism.
As Christians, we should aggressively “take captive” elements of culture to “make them obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We should take from what is popular in our efforts to preach the unpopular message of the gospel.
How is The Walking Dead an analogy for the gospel? What other analogies have you found? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
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