And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go”.
John 11:44 NKJV
Lazarus and His Grave Clothes
Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus, and he was sick. Jesus received word he was sick, but instead of going right away to see Lazarus, he waited two days. That is like when Adam and Eve sinned and humans became sick with sin. Sin brought death and covered us in grave clothes. Adam and Eve lost the divine covering God had provided for them and sin and death now covered them. Jesus didn’t come right away to set things right. He waited.
When Jesus came to see Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, He was told Lazarus was dead. He asked them where they had laid Lazarus, and they showed Him and when He saw the tomb, He wept.
That is a parable of how He feels about us and the grave clothes of sin we wear. We were dead and buried in a tomb and it broke His heart.
Now Jesus knew where they put Lazarus to rest. Whenever Jesus asks a question, it isn’t for His benefit, but ours. In this situation, Mary and Martha easily guided Jesus to the place where Lazarus was buried.
But what about you? Where do you hide yourself to keep the stench of your sin from God? He already knows where you’re buried. Answer truthfully when He asks where that is and He can call you forth and remove those grave clothes you’re wrapped in.
Lazarus buried in a tomb was a foreshadowing of how Jesus would be buried. He told them to take away the stone. Martha protested because he was dead for four days and there was a stench.
The stone would be rolled away from His tomb, but there would be no stench, just the sweet smell of salvation and life.
Your Sins Are Not Too Much
You may think your sins are too much for God, but Jesus told Martha that if she believed, she would see the Glory of God. Jesus prayed and then commanded Lazarus to come forth. Lazarus came out bound with grave clothes and a cloth covering his face. Just like we are clothed in the grave clothes of sin and it binds us and blinds us.
Jesus said to them, “Loose him.”
Jesus calls us to come forth. No matter how much we think we stink, how much of a stench we are because of our many sins. He will roll back the stone, call us forth, and loose us from the grave clothes of sin.
Jesus weeping over Lazarus was symbolic of how He feels about the deadness of humanity. His hanging on the cross is His response to free us from our grave clothes so we can exchange those for His righteousness. Jesus wore the grave clothes of sin and allowed Himself to be buried in a tomb. But He didn’t need anyone to roll the stone away or take off the grave clothes. He did that on His own.
Lazarus dead, wrapped in grave clothes, buried in the tomb, and raised from the dead, was a foreshadowing of what Jesus would experience.
God covered Adam and Eve in His glory, and they exchanged that for sin’s grave clothes. With Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can now exchange our grave clothes for His righteousness.
No matter how much you’ve sinned and you think the stench is too much, Jesus is calling you forth. He will roll the stone away, loose you from the grave clothes of sin, wash you in His blood, and clothe you in His righteousness.
So, the story of Lazarus is both a parable and a foreshadowing. What is it saying to us?
Come forth and be free.