Summary: When we are made alive in Christ we need to put off the grave clothes.

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“Grave Clothes”

November 17, 2013

John 11:38-44

“38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

I love this record of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Death is so frightening to us and this should all give us courage and faith about that event in our future. I want to encourage you to read the whole chapter this week. You ought to just ‘seep’ in this chapter. Meditate on it. It is good stuff.

Having said that – let me point out a few things that caught my eye. I want to talk to you about ‘taking off grave clothes’ but there is a few things just too good to pass up in this chapter.

The first thing is that Jesus wept – verse 35. It’s best known for being the shortest verse in the Bible. I think it is significant that it is the shortest verse. The scholar (Robert Estienne in 1551) was the one who placed the chapter and verses in the Bible and he probably made this the shortest verse on purpose. Those two words are significant. To think that the Creator of heaven and earth, our Savior and Lord, wept is awe inspiring. I believe that Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus to life in just moments. But He wept. Why?

Because Mary was weeping. Jesus more than sympathizes with us – He EMPHATHISES with us. He was called ‘a Man of Sorrows’. He enters into our passion and our sorrow. What you are going through – He goes through. Why? Verse 36 tells us. “Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jesus loves so greatly that even knowing the finial outcome – He still weeps with us in our sorrow. Just as we weep with our children – God weeps with and for us.

Wasn’t this an awesome display of God’s love? What a tender moment. But there are always some who are so cold-hearted and negative that they find fault in anything. The problem is not the act or the event – the problem is the heart. Look how some responded to God’s love and this miraculous event.

“But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” John 11:37

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