The story of Lazarus in John 11 shows power over death, and it shows that hope can be found in Jesus. It is a beautiful story, but my favorite part is John 11:44, when Jesus says, “Unbind him, and let him go.” In that moment, Jesus shows power over death and calls Lazarus to walk in freedom.
Lazarus was no longer bound by death, or defined by his flesh, former life, identity, or past failures. Everyone in town would now know this new Lazarus, who was no longer confined to a grave. I imagine this was his new identity. I’m sure the remainder of his life held multiple conversations about what had happened. Everyone must have had questions. Who else did people know who had left the grave?
Leaving the grave took away the need for grave clothes.
Lazarus walked in the newness of life. That is a newness given to the believer that we see in Romans 6:4.
Interestingly, we never see a point in scripture where Lazarus says he preferred the grave clothes. We don’t see evidence of him trying to put those clothes back on. That never happened because Lazarus was set free. He was able to turn from what was dead and walk in life.
This portion of scripture helps us understand what happens to us when we come into a relationship with the Father through Jesus. We have left the grave, and we walk in the newness of life. That means we need to leave our grave clothes behind. Our grave clothes consist of our mistakes, our former identities, our hurt, past rejection, what the enemy and others have said about us, and negative things we believed about ourselves. Not walking in those things requires us to deny ourselves and start believing the truths of the Father over the lies of the enemy. It is not an easy task at times, but it requires intentionality and walking with the Father daily.
Brothers and Sisters, if we have a relationship with Him, we are set free!
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
We are no longer bound by sin, our past, or our failures. We should stop living in that past identity. The Father offers us a new identity in Jesus. Galatians 2:20 reminds us that we have been crucified with Christ. The scripture tells us we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. As we walk in this newness, we no longer have a need to try. Anything in our own efforts will be an unsatisfactory replica of what our Messiah can now do through us. We need to deny ourselves so Jesus can live through us.
Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to walk in this newness daily, embrace this new identity, deny yourselves, and allow your savior to live through you.
Leave the grave clothes behind and walk in His love and freedom.