When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. – John 12:9-11 (NLT)
Some of us are old enough to remember the TV series, Dark Shadows. I was most fascinated by the lead character, Barnabas Collins.
No matter what was done to kill Barnabas Collins, he kept on coming back. In various episodes, Barnabas Collins was stabbed, shot, thrown down flights of stairs, pushed off cliffs and poisoned. But invariably, Barnabas Collins would show up again and again in succeeding scenes.
The secret of Barnabas Collins’ invincibility was this: he had already died and come back from the dead, so no new or subsequent configurations of death could actually kill him. The people of Collinsport, Maine, where the drama unfolded, could never seem to figure this out.
Aside from the spoof and the spookiness of Dark Shadows, persons who live without the fear of death do possess a certain power. Jesus told us not to be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that if a person hasn’t found something they are willing to die for, they are not fit to live.
It is only when we face and overcome our fears of death that we become free to live.
According to John’s Gospel, when the chief priests learned that Lazarus had been brought back from the dead by Jesus, they decided to kill Lazarus again.
Will we ever learn?
Thank you, God, for the death of our deadly fears. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.