Thursday, January 14, 2016

Unwinding Grave Clothes

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

Once the stone was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus gave the command to the sisters to remove their brother’s grave clothes and let him go.  I realize what this verse is implying without actually stating the obvious.  His unspoken words are saying that this person is finally free to live again, but he is still bound.  His unspoken command was for others to unbind him so he could walk in his new freedom.  The consequences of his words would be that the odor could be overwhelming and might downright stink.  The consequences of his instructions would involve them getting their hands messy.  What is another word for this? of yourself when others are trying to break free from their tomb.  It means making yourself available when you really don’t feel like or when you have repeatedly told them the same truth.  I’ll never forget at my grandmother’s 100th birthday party the line of people who stood up and shared the many ways she had pushed her own agenda aside.  One spoke of how she dropped in at dinner time and Grandmother pushed her plate aside and went to a private room to minister to her heart.  The stories went on and on...unwinding grave clothes...unbinding strongholds...holding out her hands for that first baby step. 

Jesus could have easily done the work of removing the grave clothes but He knows the blessings and joy that will be ours when we partner with Him.  He understands that at some point we will be the one requiring others to remove the cloth that covers our spiritual eyes. He knew that unwinding one strip of cloth off someone else's life would teach us something about ourself.  Life provides many opportunities where we might be the resurrected one and other times be the ones who are called to get messy ...involved...inconvenienced.  Our response dare not be delayed for the spiritual life of another might depend on it.

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Matthew 9:37-38

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