"And he who had died (Lazarus) came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go." " John 11:44
It was one of those passages that jumped out as I was turning the pages of my Bible in preparation for my morning study. Although I had read the passage dozens of times before, something in it caught my attention today. Realizing there may be a deeper truth than what I had previously seen, I decided to take a closer look.
It wasn't long before I saw it as I prayed and asked the Lord what He was trying to show me.
Even though he had been in the grave for four days, we see Lazarus being brought back to life. Obediently he came out of the grave, returning from the death to life when Jesus cried out with a loud voice "Lazarus, come forth!" But he was still bound, head and foot with grave clothes, and his face and eyes were covered with a cloth.
This is where the text began to take on new meaning. The next command from Jesus was directed at those who witnessed the resurrection: "Loose him, and let him go." Although Jesus had full ability to bring Lazarus out of the grave completely unhindered, He chose to leave him bound by the grave clothes, commanding those around him with the task of freeing him from them.
I see a marvelous truth here.
Many are still are wearing the grave clothes of the past even after responding to Jesus' call to new life. It takes the obedient and loving care of those nearby to help remove the things that hinder their sight and movement. I don't know about you, but I needed that help as a new believer, and still find it helpful as a seasoned veteran of faith. There are things in life that can trip and blind all of us in our journey. The command of Jesus is to loose the bonds freeing others to enjoy new life.
It causes me to reflect on how I'm doing in my act of obedience to this command.
I leave you with an acrostic shared on Facebook by a friend. I don't know who originally penned it, but I'm glad they did. It reminds me to think before I speak to "help" those around me.
T- are the words I am going to speak TRUE?
H - are they HELPFUL?
I - are they INSPIRING?
N - are they NECESSARY?
K - are they KIND?
I believe if we were to use this gauge as we help others, freeing them from the grave clothes of their past, we would find them joyfully soaring in victory.
"Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31