Grave Clothes Gone

God wants to free us from the burial clothes – from everything that has us bound up and paralyzed.

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30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the same spot where Martha had met Him.  31 When the Jews who were sitting with her in the house and consoling her saw how hastily Mary had arisen and gone out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to pour out her grief there.  32 When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.   33 When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]  34 And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.  35 Jesus wept.  36 The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him!  37 But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?  38 Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it.  39 Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days!  40 Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?  41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  42 Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].  43 When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!  44 And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.  John 11 : 3o – 44 AMPC

God wants us to come to Him when we’re hurting, not to stay away.  Jesus stayed at the place where Martha had met Him, just outside the village.  He could’ve gone with Martha.  But He stayed right where He was and sent her to go and call Mary.  Jesus knew Mary needed to exercise her faith.  She needed the experience of being once again, convinced of His love, and running to Him in her grief.  And that’s exactly what Mary did.  She got up from the pity party with her friends and ran with all her might to the only One who could help her.  The scripture says that when her friends saw how quickly she got up and ran to meet Jesus, they followed.  Our faith journey is never just about us.  There’s always someone looking on who can be encouraged by the way you go through a difficult season.  Someone who could be inspired to follow you as you run to Jesus and fall at His feet.

When Mary ran to Jesus, she told Him exactly how she felt.  The scripture says she was sobbing as she fell at His feet saying, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died”.  When we’ve been angry with God, it’s ok to be real with Him.  He is such a personal and intimate God that He wants us to express our hearts to Him.  He wants us to tell Him how we really feel.  To lay our concerns at His feet.

God loves us and in His infinite wisdom, always does what’s absolutely best for us. But like any good Father,  He is still moved by our tears.  He feels our pain.  He’s near to the broken-hearted.  Jesus loved Lazarus and was moved to tears when He saw the tomb.  Jesus, being in very nature God, cried three times in the text!  God is showing us through this story that it’s ok to cry.  He gives us time to acknowledge our emotions.  Then it’s time to move ahead.  After Jesus cried the third time, He moved towards the tomb to wake Lazarus.  We must follow the example of our Savior – dry our tears and continue in purpose.  The stench of our past doesn’t make God cringe.  It doesn’t hinder Him from coming near to us, even in the tomb.  Even in the midst of a situation that seems dead and beyond repair, God comes near and does what only He can do.  He frees us from the burial clothes.  From everything that had us bound up and paralyzed.

May we find the courage to push past disappointment and believe in our Savior once again.  May we rise up out of our grief, run to Him and honestly lay our concerns at His feet.  May someone see us running to Jesus, and be inspired to follow.  May we allow God to remove our grave clothes.  To remove death’s stench and breathe life into our bones.  May we experience freedom from that which had us bound.  And may we know beyond any shadow of doubt, that we are loved by our Father.

 

Love & Blessings,

Less Trodden

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