At the tomb of Lazarus, there was a protest against granting Jesus’ desire of having the tombstone rolled away. They were of the opinion that by now a putrefying odor would be emanating from his corpse. I agree with them. They gave up on him long before Jesus’ arrival on the scene.
Following Jesus’ command, Lazarus who was dead and all wrapped up for four days, bounced back to life. However, though he is alive, he’s still bound. Life becomes frustrating when you feel the life of God coursing through your body yet you’re bound and incapacitated from being able to do anything. Jesus had been bringing in “dead” folks who have strayed from the sheepfold. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ is to help these sheep that have just been rebirthed to have a strong footing. Jesus’ part in the story was done. He’s brought Lazarus back. But he’s still bound in grave clothes.
The white linen with which Lazarus’ dead body was wrapped was not in its best form. They actually were soiled and a strong stench would already have been oozing through those clothing. Such linen material, we wouldn’t want to touch for anything. Yet this same stained, smelly and soiled linen is what Jesus is asking us to unwrap from Lazarus’ resurrected but bound body.
If you are growing as a Christian, sooner or later you will hear Jesus say to you: “Loose that man, loose that woman and let them go!” what this means is that He’s brought someone into the kingdom by being saved. Dying to the old stuff and resurrecting the new man. But even after becoming saved, there are still some dead issues – grave clothes that need to be removed.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the scripture that says if a man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed … so don’t quote it. But we need to have an understanding of the concept of salvation. With my little understanding, this is what I believe: we are made spirit, soul and body. At conversion, what happens to this tripartite man is that immediately he receives a new spirit. All dirt is removed. He’s a brand new man in Christ Jesus. The soul however is not saved yet. But it is being saved (continual process) by the renewing of the mind with the Word of God. The flesh will not be saved until the final resurrection, when the corruptible would be swallowed up by the incorruptible and mortality gives way to immortality (1 Corinthians 15: 53, 54).
In the meantime, there is a constant battle between the spirit and the flesh with the soul being in the middle deciding who wins the battle. Someone aptly says, “All battles are won or lost in mind.”
So what Jesus does is to bring in the sheep into the sheepfold. He’s asking us to teach and disciple them. And in the process of performing this task, I promise you that you will come across smell, stained and soiled grave clothes. And it is not something we give a quick glance and decide to look the other way or walk away. No. He wants us to be deeply involved in the process of unraveling and unwrapping this newly resurrected ‘Lazarus’ so he can move into fulfilling the mission of why God brought him out of the tomb in the first place. Hence we must be prepared and matured enough to soil our hands.
The sad reality, however, is that many sons and daughters who are coming into the kingdom are not loosed to go. Either we allow those dead clothes to incapacitate their movement, or worse still, keep adding the bandage of bondage through the tradition of men or some doctrinal jargon. The do’s and don’ts of religion bind these precious ones from enjoying the love relationship that’s available to us in Christ Jesus.
Not only are we called to deal with other people’s bandages but we are also totally equipped. He’s/she’s a blessed person who discovers God has given him/her everything – the anointing, the gifts and talents to deal with other people’s bandages.
If only we’ll be entirely honest with ourselves, we have bandages that deeply conceal issues we don’t want anyone to know we’re struggling with. Some of these issues are so private and personal we don’t even want our spouses to get too close to see.
Is there a bandage of bondage you’ve seen someone struggling with? This is not the time to talk about them. It is time to go ahead and loosen this bandage and let that daughter of Zion enter into her fulfillment.