Dead Man Talking

Tunde awoke and stretched happily. No school today, he thought.

Tunde, you may come with me today, his father said to the still sleepy boy. I am going to the station.

Tunde's father was a police officer in Benin City, Nigeria. He was also in charge of a nearby police station. Lately there had been many armed robberies on a certain Benin City road.

Today, as Tunde and his father walked the road, the boy's eyes widened in horror. A recent victim lay nearby.

As Tunde and his father prepared to take the body to the police station, Tunde asked, Why did they kill this man, Father? Why didn't the robbers just take his money?

Tunde's father looked at his son and said, Because this way no one can identify the bandits.


At the police station Tunde found a business card in the shirt pocket of the large male victim. He showed it to his father.

Ah, this man is with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, said his father. We know where their office is. We must try to contact them.

Tunde nodded, then stifled a shriek. The dead man's hand, then his foot, had moved!

Father! Tunde shouted as he pointed toward the man. The boy's father strode over quickly. They watched as a bit more movement occurred.

The man's right arm was swollen and bruised as if he had held it up to shield his face, which was bloody and also swollen. Yet the man seemed to be alive! Yes, now there was some shallow breathing.

Quickly the man was put into a car and driven to the Seventh-day Adventist mission in Benin City. Two ministers' wives immediately agreed to take the man and provide for his care.


Tunde, called his father the next day. Remember that man we delivered to the Adventists yesterday?

Yes, replied Tunde, the one we thought was dead but who started moving a little bit. Has he died?

No, said his father. He is speaking at a meeting tonight. Shall we go listen?

He's speaking? Tunde responded in disbelief. He can talk?

It's a shock to me, too, said his father. But I'd like to hear what the man has to say.

Tunde nodded. The word had spread, and the meeting in Benin City was packed. Tunde recognized the man by his bruised and swollen face. When he stood up to speak, the corners of his mouth cracked, and blood trickled slightly from them, but his story was fascinating. His name was Joseph Ola, and he was a Seventh-day Adventist minister. Armed robbers had stopped him and demanded money. Joseph had answered,

I have some money, but it's God's money.

God never prints money, one robber countered. Where is the money?

Pastor Ola gave them the money in the car, but they beat him nonetheless. The gang leader ordered the man who was beating Pastor Ola to kill him.

No, I cannot kill a minister! the other robber replied.

Furious, the leader raised his club and brought it crashing down on Pastor Ola's head. The man of God fell to the ground and did not move.

Tunde nudged his father. We saw the blood.

Tunde's father nodded.

Tunde shook his head in amazement. But he lost so much blood; how could he still be alive?

Father shrugged his shoulders, then returned his attention to the pastor.

Pastor Ola had finished telling the story of the robbery and was now telling the story of Someone who was really dead and had come back to life. His name was Jesus. Tunde and his father listened with fascination, as did the rest of the crowd. It was not hard to believe this story after seeing someone come back to life before their very eyes. Because of Pastor Ola's story, crowds of people gave their hearts to God and were baptized.

Was Pastor Ola really dead, or had he just lost so much blood that he was in a coma and did not appear to be breathing? To Tunde and his father it does not matter. What matters is that a man they thought was dead became alive again to give them the good news about Jesus, who once was dead but now lives in heaven as our high priest.

Epilogue: Joseph Ola is president of the Nigeria Union Mission. He has completely recovered from his head injuries and his arm is better, although his fourth finger has never been the same. Joseph says God left one finger crippled so he will never forget that from which the Lord saved him.

Sally Dillon