Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes…” ~ John 11:44
After Lazarus’ death, his family wrapped him in linen clothes (grave clothes) and put him in a tomb. Today, we embalm and bury our dead in the ground or in tombs. But there’s another place we “find” the dead: all around us.
Those who are dead walk, talk, and function all around us, but not with joy and not to their full capacity, as they are bound in their own grave clothes. Some kind of pain (physical, mental, emotional, psychological) keeps them bound up. Even those whose faith is strong in some area can be bound up in grave clothes. Read what David says in Psalm 31, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;” (vv. 9, 12). When you feel dead and tied up in grave clothes, often times you aren’t able to find your own way out.
In this scripture in John, Jesus gives each person a role. To those who are bound up, He gives the role to follow the sound of Jesus’ voice and to “come out” of the tomb. The role of those watching and listening is to remove the grave clothes and let the bound person go.
Lord, my prayer today is that when I am bound up, I will follow the sound of Your voice out of my self-made tomb and seek out those who love me to help me remove my grave clothes. And Lord, when You call me to help another out of their grave clothes, I pray that I will turn immediately to them in love. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.