The story of raising Lazarus from the dead is familiar to most of us. It seems the ultimate miracle, changing death into life. But this is not the only story of raising the dead in the New Testament.
There was the ruler's daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, and Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha).
The difference here is that Lazarus had been dead for four days. This didn't happen just immediately after Lazarus died. In the heat of the Holy Land, a body would not "keep" without embalming for that many days.
As his sister said, "He stinks by now." If you have ever come upon old carrion, you know that aroma. It isn't pleasant.
But Lazarus came forth - not smelling, but still bound in the grave clothes. And Jesus tells them to take off the grave clothes and let him go. In other words, free him from the fetters of death.
How does this relate to us?
Well we were dead in our sins before Christ entered our hearts. We had been there long enough to have acquired a lot of stinking habits and patterns of thought. Those habits and thought patterns are exactly like the grave clothes that Jesus told them to remove from Lazarus.
They blind us, like a cloth over the face. They keep us from moving forward, like bound feet. They hinder us from the work of the Lord, like wrapped hands.
We can not bring the habits of death into our new life in Christ. When we surrendered to Jesus, we became new creatures. We may have the same physical characteristics we had before that encounter and commitment, but the inner person has changed radically. What was important in the world before is now a series of minor details.
Instead of living from month to month or with a five-year plan or with nebulous goals for someday, we have the purpose of God in our lives. His purpose and plan is beyond our ken. It's like a carnival ride, you commit yourself and just hang on. It's exciting, and you will see things from a totally new perspective.
Thank You for our resurrection from sin to salvation. Help us to keep our eyes on You at all times and to see things from the perspective of Your plans, not only for our personal lives, but for the world.
In Jesus' most precious name.