It was on the fourth day after Lazarus had died that the Lord, with his disciples traveled to the grieving family's home. By this time the body had been entombed and the grieving process was in full swing. The house was full of mourners and the Lazarus' sisters were distraught. When the Lord appeared on the scene, Martha poured out of her brokenness an accusation: Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died. As if trying to soften her stinging words of rebuke, she quickly added: " But I know even now, what ever you ask the Father, He will give it to you."
Jesus was not put off. Fully God and fully man, He understood both the pathos and the poverty of her plea. Seeing with eternity in his eyes, he spoke the purposes of the Father when he responded: " Your brother will rise again."
Fast forward to the location of the tomb. Now surrounded by his disciples, the family and the religious leaders, Jesus exhibits His divine authority over death. He boldly reaches into the darkness with the laser-light of His love: "Lazarus come forth." The stone covering the entrance of the tomb had previously been rolled away by Jesus' directive. And,now, at the power of his Word, the dead Lazarus was resurrected and stood at the entrance of the living, still bound in his grave clothes.
Can you see the picture. Suddenly, in an instant the whole world of sorrow, grief and loss was supernaturally transformed into joy unspeakable and full of glory....the dead had come back to life, a brother restored a family reunited, a community renewed... remarkable: OUR GOD!
What happened next reverberates with an admonition we must not ignore. Jesus turned to His disciples and commanded them: "Loose him and let him go ...for he that was dead came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin."
Spiritual parallel: How many Christians do we know that have been born-again only to remain bound hand and foot with a burial cloth still over their faces. Yes, called forth out of spiritual death by the Spirit of the living God, but unable to move into victory because they are still bound by the clothes of the past. Interestingly, the Lord could have spoken a Word and commanded the grave clothes to fall off of Lazarus. He did not. He turned to those closest to him and told them to "loose him and let him go!" And that is our directive as well. As disciples of the Living Lord, we are commissioned to be in the "loosing" ministry. The bindings of the old dead man usually do not disappear at the conversion experience. Like layers of an onion, or long strips of grave clothes, people remain immobilized by the past. The ministry of "deliverance" is the unbinding of past wombs, hurts, traumas, iniquities, etc. By the powerful, anointed prayers of the obedient, others are loosed from pain, passions, pride and counter productive compulsions that render their Christian life powerless. Jesus calls us forth from the tomb of disbelief and death into the light of being loosed by compassionate members of the Body of Christ. We neglect this powerful directive to our own peril and the disabling of the Church.
Jesus boldly proclaimed in Luke 4:18; " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captive free (read loose those bound in grave-clothes) open blind eyes, set at liberty all those that have been bruised and declare the acceptable year of the Lord." Will you obey?
"Father, in the mighty Name of Jesus:
May those true followers of Jesus, receive this directive as if spoken freshly to their hearts and minds, today, by Your own mouth. May they rise up to fulfill their call to set the captive free in power and the anointing of the Spirit . And, those that are bound, direct them to the believer that will unbind them and set them free. You are faithful, Lord and will do it !