Dead Man Walking

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

"Why do you think that when Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, he had him come out in his grave clothes?" A wise man of God asked me a question last week that I had never considered. Why didn't he leave his graveclothes neatly folded inside the tomb as Jesus did? Why didn't he emerge in a shining white robe?

The four days Lazarus's body spent in that grave had surely caused quite a bit of decay. The intense heat combined with the lack of embalming would have rotted the flesh quite quickly. Surely there were parasites already doing their work inside that tomb. The sight and smell of those graveclothes had to be absolutely revolting. If Jesus had the power to completely resurrect and renew Lazarus' body, why wouldn't he have taken care of the putrid, worm-ridden graveclothes as well?

What must have the onlookers thought as Jesus commanded them to "Loose him"? I wasn't there, but I'm pretty sure some of them thought, "No way! I'm not touching that!" I'd probably have been one of them. Maybe others thought, "Um, sure, Jesus, but let me see if I have any hand sanitizer on me...or better yet, anybody bring Lysol?"

But there were a few special people there who flew to their friend, threw their arms around his neck, and cried with joy. Their disgust for the graveclothes was completely overshadowed by their love for Lazarus and their amazement for what the Lord had done.

Over the past few weeks, I've been grateful to have many such grace-filled people in my own life. When your family goes through a difficult time, especially if your family is in ministry, you fear what personal failure will do. It's not going to be pretty. Even though the Lord has been working in our hearts in miraculous ways, the effects of sin are still there. The hurt is real. The shame is crippling. I can't help but wonder, Who can stomach this?

Since this journey began, I've watched in utter amazement as my precious grace-filled brothers and sisters have looked past the graveclothes. They've run to us, embraced us, loved us. I look into their eyes, searching for revulsion, but it's not there. The Lord somehow allowed them to see past the ugliness to witness what the Lord can do--resurrect, revive, renew.

Too many times, we hurry the "failures" into closets. "This is so embarrassing!" And it's true--there is no doubt that sin brings shame and painful consequences. But when we do that, we miss the best part. Thank the Lord, when we cry out to Him in repentance, He can bring beauty out of the ugliness. He can make all things new. He can restore. I want to be part of that. I want to witness the miracle. I'm praying every day, "Lord, give me grace." And He is.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. -II Thessalonians 2:16-17
3 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    I love you. You look like our Father.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This post is such an encouragement. Praise the Lord for restoration! I don't know you well but I will be praying for you and your family. Just know that GOD will use you and your story in a mighty way. Continue to let God work in your lives to make things new.....I know HE will see ya'll through!

    God bless,
    Jeremiah 29:11

  3. trudymiles Says:

    After reading this post, all I can say is "Wow!" I had never thought of the Lazarus story that way...brings a whole new meaning to me. Thank the Lord for grace-filled believers! I know the Lord is using your lives to write an amazing story that in turn gives all glory back to Him. Thanks for being a blessing to me today. P.S. Your Aunt Kathy was telling me this morning about this post, so I had to read it for myself.

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