Thursday, January 01, 2015

Taking Off The Grave Clothes

 In John 11 we read of the sickness and subsequent death of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus. While Martha and Mary, Lazarus' sisters lamented the late arrival of the One who could have delivered him from his malady, our Savior used the occasion as an opportunity to show his power over death. What an opportunity it was! Our Lord spoke to the dead and stinking Lazarus and he was made alive again!

In like manner, we are changed from a state of spiritual death to life by the power of God. The same voice that cried, "Lazarus come forth" is able speak life into our stony heart. The central theme of our passage is the power of our Lord to give life. The result of this spiritual life is our ability to make changes for the better. Let us look at the command given by Jesus once Lazarus was resurrected from the dead.

John 11:43-44 KJV - 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.

Once life was given, Jesus instructed Lazarus grave clothes be removed. The clothing associated with death was to be removed. He that was dead was made alive by the voice of the Master. It is mere speculation on my part, but I imagine Lazarus putting on his best change of clothes after his encounter with Jesus. Perhaps he bought a new outfit to celebrate the occasion. What an experience. He who was dead was alive again.

We do not have to speculate about what should happen to us when we are born again. The Apostle Paul instructs us to take off the grave clothes and put on a new garment.

Ephesians 4:21-24 KJV - If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The actions of the old man are simply grave clothes of a former life. Once the Spirit of God makes us alive, we ought to clothe ourselves with the garments of a disciple; those things comprised of righteousness and holiness.

As we begin a new year, we should ponder our own discipleship. What grave clothes are we still wearing of a former life. Deceit? Slothfulness? Evil speaking? Whatever it might be, may we put the off and put on the clothes of edifying and godly living. What a testimony we will be in 2015 when we imitate the life and actions of our Lord by putting on righteousness.

In Christian Love,

Michael D. Green, Jr.