Anticipation grew as the crowd neared the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus held the hand of both of his sisters.
He stopped about twenty feet in front of the enclosure. “Remove the stone from the entrance.”
Martha turned and looked at Him. “Lord, by this time there’ll be a terrible stench. He’s been in there four days.”
Jesus peered into her eyes. “If you want to see the glory of God you must do as I say.”
Martha hesitated, then turned and motioned for the men to roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.
Three men struggled with the large rock. A fourth man joined the effort to loosen the weight from its position. The man closest to the opening spilled the contents of his stomach on the ground as he walked away.
The portion of the crowd that was down-wind of the grave moved back as Jesus looked up.
“Father, I thank You for hearing Me in the presence of these witnesses. Now, glorify Your Son as I glorify You with My request.”
Jesus looked at the tomb and yelled, “Lazarus, come out here.”
People strained to hear some noise coming from inside the cave. A scuffing sound was met with Lazarus hopping to the entrance for all to see.
Jesus waved a hand toward Lazarus. “Take those grave-clothes off him. He doesn’t need them anymore.”
A cheer rose up from the crowd. Mary and Martha gave Jesus a hug while tears streamed down their faces. “Thank You! Thank You!”
Lazarus was led to Jesus. Jesus looked in his eyes. “Welcome back, my friend. Welcome back.”
The two men embraced before the siblings could do the same thing.
WOW! Talk about the ultimate miracle. Raising someone from the dead would have to be IT; especially with four days worth of decay in their body.
I see three events that occurred here. Each of them required action from others to pull them off.
1. They had to roll the stone away from the tomb. It wouldn’t do much good to resurrect a dead man if he couldn’t come out of the grave.
This proved to be an immense test of faith on the part of Martha. Being the ever-practical member of the family she felt the need to explain to the Creator of mankind, and the decaying process, that there would be a very unpleasant odor if they did that. I mean, they probably had a hard enough time getting the boy to bathe when he was alive, let alone after four days of decomposition.
I’ve found this to be the case whenever God decides to stretch one’s faith, He’ll ask us to do something that doesn’t make sense to us so He can display His glory in the event. Trust is the first step in this growth process. Step out in faith.
2. Lazarus had to come to the entrance of the tomb. He could have stayed on the slab and waited for somebody to come in and get him, but, he would have disobeyed the One who gave him back his life.
Jesus told him to come out of the grave, and He said it loud enough so all in attendance would hear the demand. Even though he had some restrictive garments on he, for once, did what he was told. Lazarus did his best to obey Jesus.
The Bible is full of commands for us to carry out God’s mission on earth. Reading the Bible is the first step in this process. Studying it is the next important step. Dig deep into God’s truths to see what it is He’s calling us to do. Walk along in obedience.
3. They had to remove the grave-clothes. Poor Lazarus was wrapped up like a mummy, not exactly ready to come out and play.
Grave clothes had one purpose: to hold the body in a small space while it decayed. Since Lazarus was no longer dead he had no need of these clothes, but, he couldn’t take them off of himself. Others in attendance had to step in and take the wrapping off for him. If they’d left him in the state he was in Lazarus would have needed the tomb, again, in a short amount of time.
Do you still have some grave-clothes on?
“Who, me? I never had any grave-clothes on.”
No, you’ve probably never been prepared to be laid in a grave, but, you did die to your old life when you came to Christ. Have you removed the old habits from your life so you can life the abundant life God has planned for you? Those are the grave-clothes I’m talking about.
The Christian life is a journey, a step-by-step growing as we mature to the goal of becoming like Jesus. A vital part of this process is getting rid of old habits and relationships that we know are unpleasing to God.
I’m going to go back to telling you how important it is to read the Bible to find God’s truths about how you’re supposed to live your life. I look at the Bible as God’s owner’s manual for people to use as a guide given to us by our Maker. He knows how we work best, so, why not listen to Him about such matters?
Satan is known as the “ruler of this world.” He has a certain amount of influence in people’s lives. When we live our lives by the standards he sets up we’re setting ourselves up for unhappiness and discontentment.
I’ve found that whenever God tells us to discard an old habit He has a better substitute available to us to take its place.
We’re not meant to go this alone. Journey with other believers of Jesus to learn what they’ve learned about overcoming the same things you’re dealing with. Once they’ve helped you remove your grave-clothes you can do the same thing for another weary traveler on this difficult road of life.
Remove your grave-clothes.
I’ll see you later. Wade