I See Dead People

Sixth Sense

I remember watching the movie “The Sixth Sense” when it came out. Man, that movie freaked me out. The idea that this little kid was walking around actually seeing dead people… it just gave me the shivers. Honestly it still kind of gets me, although for different reasons.

In Ephesians 2 we read the following.

[1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—[3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Yeah, thanks Sunshine!

What this is saying is that anyone outside of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, although they are still created in His image and in some way, shape or form are still dimly reflecting that image, but apart from repenting of sin and placing their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the substitutionary payment for their sin, they are still… well, dead.

In Mark 2 we observe Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee as he is teaching. And in verse 1 the text says that Jesus “sees” a man named Levi. We read on and find out that Levi is a tax collector, a “public sinner”. Levi is dead. Yet Jesus sees him. Jesus speaks to him, calling this public sinner to follow him. And in response, Levi is called from death to life.

Ephesians 2 describes what happens to Levi (and to anyone else who answers the call to follow Jesus).

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

So Levi is made alive together with Jesus. He begins to follow Jesus. And the first thing he does in following Jesus is to throw a party and gather all of his other “public sinner” friends together so that they can meet Jesus. Because Jesus had seen him when he was still dead, Levi now sees dead people as well, and he has compassion for as well as passion towards them.

What about us? Do we see “dead” people? Do we see the dead next door, in the next cubicle at work, in the next desk in class? Perhaps we do not see because deep down many followers of Jesus are actually functional Universalists, believing that because “God is love” that means “everyone gets in”.

God is rich in mercy. But He is also full of justice. And unless He has made us and our neighbors and our co-workers and our classmates alive together with Christ, then death still reigns. It is only by grace that those who follow Jesus have been called from death to life. And it is by God’s people doing just what Levi did, following Jesus by seeing and speaking and initiating towards our dead neighbors and friends, that they too, even while they are dead in their trespasses, will be made alive together with Christ.

So let me invite you this week to look, to observe, to see the people surrounding you, to be moved with compassion for them, to move with passion towards them. And as we follow Jesus, may we do what Levi did by simply seeking to introduce them to the person of Jesus.

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