When Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life”, he was referring not only to our bodily resurrection at the end times when Jesus returns, but also to the quality of our resurrected life right now.
If we have given our lives to Jesus, we are “in Christ”, and he has brought us out of spiritual death into new spiritual life. (John 5:24) We are, in Jesus’ words, born again, and we have a brand new born again spirit within us which responds to the Holy Spirit and longs to do God’s will. Our bodies and minds however, take a bit more getting under control and bringing into alignment with God’s ways.
Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days and he was on the nose! All hope was gone. They could only look back with regret and say, “Lord, if you had been here…”
But then the authoritative voice of Jesus cut through the atmosphere of grief, “Lazarus, come out!” And to the astonishment of everyone present, Lazarus stumbled out, still fully encased in strips of linen, but alive! Jesus instructed, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Miraculously, Lazarus had been given back the gift of life. The unthinkable had happened! But if Lazarus was going to live his new life effectively, the grave clothes had to be removed. They had the stench of death clinging to them; they were restrictive and disabling.
And what about us?
We have been brought from death to life, but do we, like Lazarus, still have remnants of our old, spiritually dead life clinging to us? Are we living in the freedom that Jesus, at huge cost, has won for us? Or are we still bound up by old mindsets, guilt, unforgiveness, shame, fear etc.? Like the grave clothes, they are restrictive and disabling.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal.5:1)
I encourage us all to ask the Holy Spirit to show us if we are still bound up by anything from our old, unredeemed life, ask if there’s anything we need to do by way of forgiveness etc., and then invite him to deal with it once and for all.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…”