“The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” John 11:44
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness…But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5,8
Jesus started his ministry on earth with the words “the kingdom of God is near” (Mark 1:15). In his travels from village to village, we see the Miracle Maker, our King Jesus bringing order to the realm of His kingdom.
John 11 describes the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. As Jesus came to the tomb, we see he is greatly disturbed. The Blue Letter Commentary says, “Jesus is angry and troubled at the ravages of the great enemy of man; death. He won’t settle for this domination of death much longer.” Being deeply moved and looking to the Father, Jesus brings glory to God and calls for Lazarus to come out.
The deliverance of Lazarus from the grave came when Jesus cried out in authority “Lazarus, come out!” Jesus, who is God, “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). Jesus still calls the dead forth to new life in Him; we who are dead to sin are alive in Christ! (Romans 6:4)
The second part of the deliverance was the removal of the graveclothes. Even though the dead man heard Jesus voice and obeyed, he still came out enveloped with the shroud, the garment of a dead person. “The man was wholly raised, but not wholly freed” (Charles Spurgeon). God was asking for man’s involvement to remove the graveclothes to complete deliverance (Enduring Word Commentary).
In Christ, whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (Ephesians 3:19) and has taken off the old self and its practices and has put on the new self. (Colossians 3:9-10). So why are so many of us walking around in “graveclothes”? God has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don’t live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light” (Romans 13:12).
Prayer: Thank You Jesus for calling me out of darkness and into Your wonderful light. I ask that You would show me the places of darkness where my graveclothes still cling to me and keep me from knowing the fullness of God. Point out anything in me that offends You! In You I have eternal life now, and as I live in Your light, I pray that faith, hope, and love will abound in me to the glory of God. I look forward to that day when You make all things new and when You destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations and when You swallow up death forever (Isaiah 25:7,8). Amen.