You Take Off Their Clothes
John 11:43 & 44 NIRV
43 Then Jesus called in a loud voice. He said, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of linen. A cloth was around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.”
Before Jesus calls dead Lazarus out of the tomb, He has instructed the people to remove the stone outside the tomb. Obediently, the people have taken the stone away. However at that point, Lazarus did not come back to life. It is when Jesus calls out, “Lazarus, come out!”, that Lazarus walks out of the tomb.
Only the Words of Jesus can bring the dead to life and the broken to wholeness. Jesus says this to us in John 6:63 NCV/NLT,
“It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh doesn’t give life. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit, and they give life.”
“Lazarus, come out!” These simple three words that Jesus uses to bring the dead man walk out of the tomb, Jesus says them in a loud voice. With this, God is teaching me we need to speak the Word of God with boldness and authority. We have to call out the revival and breakthrough that we have been waiting for with the Word of God. And as we do so, we must stand on absolute faith that the very words of our lips hold power and authority because they are God’s Truths and Promises in His Word.
When Lazarus comes out of the tomb at the words of Jesus, his whole body from his head to feet, is still wrapped in grave clothes. These are the clothes that have been put on him when he lost his life to sickness four days ago. At the authoritative words of Jesus, “Lazarus, come out!”, life is restored to Lazarus but he remains bound in outer clothing of the dead.
The day a person hears and believes the Gospel of Jesus and accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he receives new life in his spirit and is made a new creation. He goes from dead in sin to life in Christ. However, at the same time, the life conditions and situations this new believer used to be in are very likely to remain the same as before. The ungodly habits, behavior, attitude and any other form of lifestyle that he has been engaged in before he received Jesus are still very much a part of him.
This is just like how Lazarus comes to life but at the same time is restrained by the grave clothes, which are associated with death. He is not able to walk in the full and free life unless he is freed from the wrapping of the grave clothes. We read in John 11:44 that Jesus tells the people outside the tomb, “Take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.”
Jesus has already brought dead Lazarus to life by His words. Surely He has all power to command Lazarus to break free from the burial clothes. Or Jesus could have perhaps instructed Lazarus to take one step forward or do something so that his burial clothes would come loose. But, Jesus does not remove Lazarus’ grave clothes Himself nor does He instruct Lazarus to do so. Jesus instructs the people around Lazarus to do this.
When we say a prayer to commit our life to Jesus and invite Him to be our Lord and Savior, we become a believer of Christ in that instant. But to live and grow as a believer of Christ, that is a lifetime. And we need one another in the Body of Christ in this journey of faith and walk with God.
Praise the Lord when we lead someone to receive Christ! However, we must know that making disciples does not stop at our successful evangelism efforts. It has only just begun. The new believer now needs us and the brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ to help him to strip off the marks and burdens that have been layering upon him over the years. We need to cover the new believer with prayer, teaching of the Word, encouragement and support so that he lives victoriously as a new creation and grows in his walk with God day by day.
Let us be the Body of Christ who shares God’s Word with boldness and authority to bring many to cross from death to life. Let us be the UNITED Body of Christ where evangelism and discipleship are always brewing in our midst.
Join me in this prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that every Word of Yours always produces fruit and accomplishes what You desire. Father, I know when I speak Your Word to people and situations, I wield Your authority and power. Use me as Your spokesperson to give life to the people around me. I give my life to building the Body of Christ by leading the lost to Christ and by being a keeper of the fellow brothers and sisters, teaching them to obey Your Word, loving one another and helping one another to grow together as disciples of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”