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The Grave Clothes

…He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.‘” [John 11: 43-44]

Jesus came to the grave scene and with one command, a dead man walked out alive. This man was brought from death into life…yet Lazarus could have spent that life still bound by the clothes of death. I think it’s so key that Jesus didn’t stop with the resurrection, but made it a point to say:Unbind him, and let him go.

Do you hear the Father whisper that to you? Do you hear Him calling you out of the grave–from death into life? Perhaps you’re like me and He made you alive a long time ago. He didn’t just tweak your bad heart to make it good…He went in and took out your dead heart and gave you a new heart that beats for Him.

But how many of us remain bound in our grave clothes? How many of us remain frozen as the accuser plays scenes from our lives over and over again? As he hits rewind and play, as he pauses certain scenes and revels at the look of anguish on your face, as he writes alternative endings that cause you to despair…as he continues to rewind and play until you forget that there’s more to the story.

As he rewinds and plays and pauses, he slyly allows you to miss out on what’s actually happening in real time in your story. The accuser hates the fast forward button, because he knows something that we often forget: this story has a good ending. Your story ends on a high note. The King wins.

The King won at Calvary–even when all hope seemed lost, when despair seemed logical. Oh, how the accuser must have loved rewinding and pausing the scene of Calvary in the minds of the disciples, reconstructing alternate story lines where they’d never followed Him in the first place and avoided looking like fools, alternate endings where Jesus was never crucified. But while the accuser was busy rewinding and pausing and reconstructing, all of heaven was counting to three. And all the rewinding and pausing couldn’t stop the King’s story from playing. 

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The King walked out and won once and for all. The horrific story line became the heralded story line of His followers. The magnificent resurrection could not happen without the devastating crucifixion. Hear that truth for your life–for your devastation. The King never ends a story with devastation…where there is devastation, there is always resurrection on the horizon. 

The accuser recognized his defeat, but he’s not one to give up. And so he came up with a new plan: if he can’t stop the King from making dead people walk out of the grave, maybe he can convince the dead people to remain in their grave clothes. If they stay trapped in the grave clothes, they’ll never look beyond the devastation that happened to the see the resurrection that will happen.

Oh, but the King will have none of that. And so He firmly speaks those 6 words:

Unbind him, and let him go.”

Hear the words of your King today, my friends. Don’t let the accuser get one more second of convincing you to remain in your grave clothes. Stop replaying those scenes and see the story that’s unfolding before you. The story of life and hope and resurrection. Stop listening to the accuser and start listening to your Advocate.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His Name’s sake.” [1 John 2:1, 12].

Whether it’s something you did, something you wish you had done, something someone else did, something you wish someone else had done, something that happened, something you wish had happened…let me whisper this sweet truth to your heart, as the Father has whispered to my heart:

You are loved, whether you feel it or not.

You are chosen, regardless of who has rejected you.

You are made to live whole, even if you are broken.

You are alive, even if the grave clothes deceive you to feel dead.

Dear friend, it’s time to be unbound and let go of the weight of the past, the weight of “what if” and “if only,” the lie of hopelessness, the deception of despair. Your story was not meant to be rewinded or paused. Your story was meant to be lived. 

The King won. The King made you alive

Now watch as the Savior unbinds you and lets you go. May we come alongside each other and follow His command to “unbind him, and let him go.”

The King won. The grave clothes have no place on you anymore. 

Walk in life, walk in hope, walk in victory

Trash those grave clothes…for the King offer you resurrection clothes.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.‘ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.'” [Joshua 3:1-5]

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” [Isaiah 61:10]