Have you ever seen movies about a man in prison on the last walk of his life – the walk to his execution for the crime(s) he has committed? As he walks – shuffling along in his leg irons and wearing handcuffs – the guards who accompany him shout out ominously for all the other prisoners and guards to hear, “Dead man. . .dead man walking.”
The other men on “death row” watch this eerie scene play out through the bars of their cells, knowing that any one of them might be the next one taking his last steps – at least on this side of eternity.
“Dead man walking.” What a poignant phrase. Sad. Terrible. Tragic. How did these men come to this point in their lives? Do they have families who love them? What about their victims? Whatever their individual and varied stories, something in their lives has gone terribly wrong.
I know what I am going to say is going to sound judgmental but I have to say it: “dead man walking” is also a very descriptive phrase for many men I see – both in mosques and in churches. These men are “religious.” They may be at their respective places of worship quite faithfully – every Friday or every Sunday – and other days or nights during the week. Praying. Bowing. Kneeling. Reading the Qur’an or reading the Bible. Repeating the Shahada in the mosque or repeating the Lord’s Prayer in the church. Fasting during Ramadan or fasting during Lent. Listening to the imam or the pastor give their sermon. Giving money for the poor, or the building fund, or some other good cause.
They seem to be doing everything right in their religions – be it Islam or be it Christianity.
But. . .when you look at some of their faces (not every man of course), you see an emptiness. You see a vacant look in their eyes. They are there alright – at the mosque or at the church – but something is missing. That something is life. They seem kind of like. . .“dead men walking.” Shuffling along. Going through the motions. On their way to their final destination after walking through their God-appointed days.
What is missing for these men in the mosque and the church? What can give them life? After all, they have “religion” – and plenty of it. I believe with all my heart that each of them – and each of us – need something more than “religion.”
We all need. . .a real, daily, vibrant relationship with Jesus.
Jesus’ name means, “God saves.” And we all need to be “saved.” Rescued from the death penalty for our sins that we all deserve.
Only one can get us off of “death row.”
And he did.
He actually took our place.
Paid the price for our sins – our crimes against a holy God.
You can have life.
Isa – Jesus himself – said:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (The Injil, The Good News of John, chapter 10, verse 10).
Don’t be a “dead man walking” – in the mosque or in the church.
Whether you call yourself a “Muslim” or a “Christian,” cry out to Jesus to save you.
He will answer you and give you new life.
New life here and. . .eternal life in Paradise!