Summary: There should be no reason for us to be bound and closed behind a bolder in a tomb, dressed in Burial Clothes, unless we are spiritually dead. The question is this: How do I get rid of those burial clothes?
Everyone got dressed this morning - Thankfully
But it Takes time to get dressed – To choose what we are going to wear.
Also the Clothes we wear reflects who we are.
Some of us wear the clothes of our Favorite sports team.
We get people who wears the Stormers jersey.
We immediately know that they are people of integrity and that we can trust them.
Then we get people who wears the Blue Bulls Jersey.
For them we can only say – Don’t worry. We are praying for you.
But in our spiritual lives we also wear certain clothes.
And one of those clothes that are worn is Burial clothes
Let’s read more about it this morning in:
(38) Deeply moved again, Jesus went to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone covering the entrance.
(39) Jesus said, "Take the stone away." Martha, the dead man's sister, told Jesus, "Lord, there must already be a stench. He's been dead for four days."
(40) Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believe, you would see God's glory?"
(41) So the stone was moved away from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me.
(42) I've known that you always hear me. However, I've said this so that the crowd standing around me will believe that you sent me."
(43) After Jesus had said this, he shouted as loudly as he could, "Lazarus, come out!"
(44) The dead man came out. Strips of cloth were wound around his feet and hands, and his face was wrapped with a handkerchief. Jesus told them, "Free Lazarus, and let him go."
In this scripture of the Bible we find that Lazarus was dead.
That is the only reason why he would be in a tomb dressed in burial clothes.
There should not, legally, be any other reason for a person to be dressed in burial clothes in a tomb.
So we see that Lazarus was indeed very much a dead man in a tomb dressed in burial clothes.
The same can be said of our spiritual condition.
There should be no reason for us to be bound and closed behind a bolder in a tomb, dressed in Burial Clothes, unless we are spiritually dead.
The questions are this: How do I get rid of those burial clothes and how do I assist others to get rid of their burial clothes?
But before we look at this, let’s look at some historical facts first.
The Hebrews didn't practice embalming in the way other cultures did, such as the Egyptians.
In ancient times it was the tradition when someone died, to take the body and to put spices and aromatic ointments on the dead body to help remove unpleasant odors.
The body would then be wrapped in linen strips of various sizes and widths.
John 19:40 GW
(40) These two men took the body of Jesus and bound it with strips of linen. They laced the strips with spices. This was the Jewish custom for burial.
Then the body would be covered in a burial garment.
Therefore, when a dead person was wrapped like this the hands and feet were bound.
Think off a mummy.
We also see this that, after Jesus died, a man named Joseph, requested permission to prepare Jesus' body "just the way the Jews have the custom of preparing for burial," using myrrh, aloes, spices and linen bandaging.
Tombs were visited and watched for 3 days by family members and friends.
On the third day after death, the body was examined.
This was to make sure that the person was really dead, for accidental burial of someone still alive could happen.
If it was found that the person was indeed dead, the body would be treated by the women of the family with oils and perfumes.
We see evidence of this in the deaths of Lazarus and of Jesus.
So let’s look at what is needed to remove the burial clothes.
1. YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO SMELL DEATH (SIN)
(39) Martha, the dead man's sister, told Jesus, "Lord, there must already be a stench. He's been dead for four days."
If we read the preceding verses we will find that Jesus knew that Lazarus was on his death bed.
However, He chose to stay another 2 days before embarking on the way to Lazarus – He said that God’s glory will be manifested.
Then He got to the tomb.
He knew that Lazarus was physically dead and in the tomb.
Nonetheless, He requests that the tomb be opened.
Lazarus has already been in the grave for 4 days.
It is a known fact that it would stink as the climate is very hot in that region.