Season Nine, Episode Two, The Bridge

This week’s The Gospel According to the Walking Dead is written by youth worker and huge The Walking Dead fan, Ryan Crittenden.

Redemption is awesome… when you’re the one being redeemed.

This episode reminded me why I like Rick Grimes. He is back to killing walkers like a pro, plus, it’s hard to not like

his classic one liner, “If I ever see your face again, stiches wont fix what I will do to you.”

Pretty intense as he shared from his past life of being a cop and picking up people like him on a Saturday night.

So far out these last two episodes there has been a lot of call backs to previous seasons or to the characters life pre-apocalypse. Father Gabriel and the former leader of the trash people, Anne had a great conversation about being welcomed into the group. Anne felt welcomed by Gabriel but not the rest of the group because she had given them plenty of reasons not to trust her. He mentions the same on his account too.

Maggie deals with the outcomes from her decision to hang Gregory (Great decision!). She jails Earl, the blacksmith, for 35 days but then releases him under supervision. Then, overlooking Hilltop, Maggie and Michonne talk about Hershel, but Maggie claims not everyone is able to be redeemed.

Rick must agree, because he doesn’t give Justin any grace, nor Negan, who is sitting in a jail cell as well.

So many of these characters on The Walking Dead have a story of redemption. That is why Maggie granted Earl a chance out of prison. This why Gabriel and Anne are part of the group. This is why people benefited seasons ago on Hershel’s farm. But then there are people like Justin and Negan who will die behind those bars according to Rick.

Redemption is exciting when God brings someone into the family, forgives them, and makes them whole! But have you ever noticed that redemption is only cool when you actually like the person being redeemed? I think the best way to show this is with the story of Jonah.

Jonah gets a call from God to preach the gospel to Nineveh. The Assyrians were bad, bad people who just so happened to really enjoy killing Jewish people such as Jonah. So Jonah tries to run from God and boards a ship to Tarshish. A big storm comes, and the crew of the ship determine that Jonah is the problem. They throw him off the ship and then he gets swallowed by a large fish. He spends three days in the belly of that large fish until the obedient fish vomits Jonah onto the shore. Jonah goes and preaches the shortest, seemly weakest sermon in Nineveh, saying, “Forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” I am not a fan of the used up three-point sermon, but I almost feel like there needed to be something more! However, everyone in the city repents and turns from their sins!! But Jonah goes outside and cries and wines because none of this was his idea.

I know many times in my life I really appreciate it when God gives me grace, mercy, and redemption. But the people that do me wrong or that I am struggling to love… well God needs give them their just due. God’s grace, mercy, and redemption are always great when its my idea but when its not my idea… What in the world is going on! This isn’t fair!This is Jonah.

People that do me wrong, I need to make the decision to forgive them. I need to rejoice when God gives them forgiveness, grace, mercy, and redemption because maybe others will come to salvation through them.

SEASON 9, EPISODE 2 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Read Matthew 18:21-35.

How do you forgive someone with your whole heart?

Who do you need to forgive?

How does it feel to be forgiven?

How might you pass on that feeling of forgiveness to someone?

What other The Walking Deadcharacter experienced a redemption moment? How were they before and after that time? What changed in the group dynamics?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen's Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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