There is an account in John, chapter 11 of an incredible event. It is an event that many people find impossible to believe. The account involves a dead man.
It is a mind stretching, faith enlarging event of supernatural proportions!
In this great occurrence, we see Jesus standing before an open tomb that is inhabited by a dead man. The man’s name is Lazarus. We see Jesus praying and saying,
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” John 11:41-42
Then, with a very loud shout, Jesus cries out:
“Lazarus, come forth!”
It’s what happens next that I want to highlight today.
And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Then, Jesus gave another command,this time to the people present:
“Loose him, and let him go.”
When Lazarus came out at Jesus’ command, He was wearing grave clothes – bound hand and foot.
I have often seen people respond to a call to come forth out of a life of sin and death but, after responding they are still bound in that which is designed for death instead of life. Grave clothes were not worn in life but in death. Clothes designed for the grave had some characteristics about them:
First, they were restrictive. Grave clothes were put upon the body tightly to keep the body from responding to the death process of rigor mortis. In rigor mortis, the body would often settle into positions that didn’t look natural to those performing the burial. Therefore, those burying the person would place the limbs in a position that looked like “natural sleep” and then would wrap the person tightly so that this position would not change.
Once called from a life of death through salvation in Jesus, many people are still bound in a way that is more conducive to death than life. If not loosed, these folks will not have the freedom necessary to live life as a person raised from spiritual death.They will be greatly restricted by former bondage and will not be able to live as a person set free by Christ. Therefore, Jesus instructs us to take off the things that bind us; things that keep us from living life in the Spirit.
“If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24
Have you heard His voice calling you to salvation? Then, it is your responsibility to submit to the process of the shedding of the old man of death and the putting on of the new man of life!
Another use of grave clothes can be found in their preservative nature.
While nothing can stop the decay of death, grave clothes were used, along with some other things to slow the process.These clothes were wrapped around the body, along with strong spices to mask the smell of death and hide decay.
Many people are using agents to slow a process which cannot be stopped! Instead of going to Jesus to get the actions of death destroyed, they simply are doing something to mask the process with the hope that the process of death brought on by sin and bondage will somehow reverse itself.
This will not work!!! Seeking to preserve something that needs to be transformed is not a solution! If you want to walk in newness of life, then you must stop all self preservation tactics and give your life totally to Jesus.
“Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33
If you choose a life that is sinful in nature, don’t be surprised when that life produces death as a result!
It is time to get undressed! Take off the things that are conducive to death and put on the new life of the Spirit! Only God can make death into life, but you play a part in loosing yourself from things that lead to death! If you need someone else to help you get free, put them to work loosing you!
Don’t be one of those who walk an aisle in a church and walk out only to live a life of death and bondage! Respond to Jesus’ call to be loosed!
Take the grave clothes off and put on a life that is representative of one which has been raised from the dead to walk as Jesus walked!