Summary: Jesus left the grave clothes behind in the tomb on Easter morning. When we Give out lives to Him, He takes through the tomb to the Resurrection, we must leave our "grave clothes" behind as well.
John 20 Easter 2005
Leaving the Grave Clothes Behind
(Walter Wangerin’s story “The Ragman” was read as a children’s story. It is found in “Ragman and Other Cries of Faith ISBN 0-06-069253-7)
Why does Jesus leave the grave clothes behind? The answer is simple – you don’t need to wear grave clothes when you are alive!
Jesus leaves the grave clothed in the clothes of the living!
Through the Holy Spirit we are united with Christ in his death and his Resurrection
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
You might remember that when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God told them that they would die that very day. And they did die – it was a spiritual death, in that their intimate connection with God was broken – when they sinned, their relationship with God died. Because we are all children of Adam and Eve, we inherit that death.
As Bob Dylan sings,
“I was blinded by the devil,
Born already ruined,
As I stepped out of the womb.”
We live in that spiritual death by doing wrong things ourselves.
Colossians 2:13-15 (NLT)
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.
When we believe in Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit unites us with Jesus in his death and resurrection, and we walk out of the tomb with Jesus to new life!
Because he lives, we live too!
Jesus leaves the grave clothes behind and we must also.
Just as Jesus leaves the grave in the clothes of the living, we must also take off the grave clothes and put on the clothes of the living
Leaving behind sin
22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
He goes on from there to describe what it means to put off your old self, and to put on your new self. 4:25-5:10
We need to take these things and leave them in the tomb. When you think of the grave clothes – they are disgusting, - you don’t want to wear something that someone died in! In the same way, once Jesus has taken the grave clothes from us, why would we ever want to go back to them? They are things of death, and we want the things of life!
There are times when we start to believe that the things that lead to death actually lead to life, by that is a lie that the devil wants us to believe to get us back into the tomb.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”- John 10:10
Take off the grave clothes and leave them in the tomb.
Leaving behind pride
I remember seeing this old War time movie about these British and American women who were caught in China when the Japanese invaded. They were promised they could leave, but they were marched from port to port to get a ship that would take them home. They were promised at each port that there would be a ship at the next one. As you could imagine the women looked worse and worse as the march went on. Their shoes fell of their feet and their clothes turned to rags. At one point, one of the young women is invited into a Chinese home where she is able to wash up, and the woman of the home gave here a brand new sarong dress. She came out of the home looking radiant, but not very British. One old matron of the group looked her up and down and said “My dear, we must keep up appearances.”
The camera pans back to show this frumpy woman dressed in dirty British rags with no shoes looking a complete mess.
She held on to her rags because she thought they gave her an air of respectability. The rags she wore did the exact opposite to what she intended.
It was like when the caterpillar saw a butterfly flying by and remarked to his friend “you’ll never get me up in one of those!”