Waking the Dead

26 06 2013

I see dead people; they are everywhere. We have a part to play in their resurrection. It’s exciting, want to join me?

When we last saw Mary, Martha, and Jesus, Lazarus was dead and buried.

But things were about to get really weird!

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha had to be OCD. Her response was, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” (I love the King James version of this!)

In other words, “Are you nuts? There isn’t enough room freshener to mask the stench!

Jesus replied, “Let me show you just how big God really is!” (Okay, that’s my paraphrase!)

The grave now open, Jesus issues a loud and specific command:

Lazarus, come forth!

(I’ve heard it said that if He had, instead, called, “Come forth” without giving a specific name, the whole graveyard would have come to life!)

The Bible says, “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.”

Here’s where we get involved:

“Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ “

You see, Jesus did the resurrecting. He left it to those present to unbind him.

That’s our job as His disciples. Jesus gives people new life. We are to come alongside them and help them get free of the old, dead stuff.

As His ambassadors, we are to:

Proclaim liberty to the captives,

And recovery of sight to the blind.

To set at liberty those who are oppressed.

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. 

(Luke 4:18,19)

Lazarus fit these categories, didn’t he? Taken captive by death, blinded by the cloth wrapped around his head, restricted and oppressive movement caused by his graveclothes. This was certainly the year of the Lord’s favor for Lazarus. There he was, alive once again!

As is true with every story in the Bible, there is a practical application for us.

Before we received eternal life, we were spiritually dead.  We also “stinkethed.” (I made up that word!) This is a gift. Good thing, too. If you think you got “born again” because of your effort, sorry to disappoint you. Dead people can’t do a thing to help themselves!

(Or, looking at it from another angle, just how involved were you in your first birth, hmmm? :))

We must proclaim liberty to the captives. We do this by telling others about Jesus. He will do the “calling forth,” but we must be the ones to remove the stone (and avoid being  the stone!).

The cloth that wraps our head and keeps us blind is our old “stinking thinking.” It is for this reason that we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The old lies need to go, and be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” That’s a renewed mind. How do we begin to unwrap that cloth? We give them a Bible, teach them how to study it, introduce them to good Bible teachers (iTunes podcasts abound!). We spend time with them.

Note that the last thing to go are the graveclothes…oppression. With their arms pinned, they are hopelessly trapped. They need other “family members” to come alongside and begin the unwrapping process.

The graveclothes may be:

Addiction

Immorality

Greed

Selfishness

Abuse(d)

Deep heart wounds

How will they get free without someone’s assistance? You are needed! You’ve learned some things through your own “unwrapping” process. You’ve had experience in some of those strips that bound your own body. You know what it’s like, and what it takes. Because you’ve been through it, you’ve got tools that are especially beneficial for the removal of specific bindings. You will never feel more alive than when you are helping get someone else free. Looking for meaning to your life?

Look no further!

There are some who think it is too late for them, though. They’ve been bound their entire life. Their time to be set free came and went. They’re a hopeless case.

WOOHOO!! Do I have great news!

Did you see the last phrase of Luke 4:19? It reads, the acceptable year of the Lord. In another translation, it’s stated: The year of the Lord’s favor.

Think about the date for a sec. Until people got all uppity, and didn’t want to include God, we divided the timeline of life into two parts: B.C and A.D. (Now they call it C.E. and B.C.E. – Current Era; Before Current Era. Any way they slice it, the year is measured by the life of Christ. ;). )

The A.D. abbreviation stands for Anno Domini…the year of our Lord. Stick with me here, you’re gonna love this!

That makes today’s date June 26, 2013 A.D. …in the year of our Lord.

In other words, every year is the Lord’s year…the year of the Lord’s favor.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU – OR FOR ANYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!

Jesus wakes the dead…it’s our job to help unwrap ’em. Let’s get busy!

Don’t miss the first part of this story, “I Expected More,”

or the conclusion: “Don’t Make Me Naked!

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27 responses

27 06 2013
Reality Of Christ

I love your analogy about being born again and Lazarus being stinky! LOL. Our old nature stinky! Lazarus dead body, stinky! Being born again, New Life, Lazarus raised from the Dead, New Life! LOVE it!

27 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

This is probably one of the most enthusiastic comments I’ve gotten! I laughed through much of the writing. I often feel like I’m taking dictation…I never really know how it’s going to end up. This one and the next (Don’t make me naked…also Lazarus) are probably my two favorites!

So glad we found one another here in Blogtopia!

\o/

27 06 2013
Reality Of Christ

Me too!

26 06 2013
Heather Mertens @ 40YearWanderer

Too bad the “eternal air freshener” isn’t available now! I stinketh off and on-eth. 😉 {GREEEEAAAAT post! 🙂 }

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

I don’t need a “spritz” – I need a hurricane of the stuff! 🙂

Thanks, Heather!

\o/

26 06 2013
Heidi Viars

Thanks so much for this today… and for the charge to go help other see Jesus face … I can almost see them unwrap Lazarus and then turn him into Jesus direction so he could look fully at Christ … Thanks, sister, for helping us understand better 🙂

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

If we can make others see the face of Jesus, then everything we’ve encountered would be well worth it, eh? 🙂

\o/

26 06 2013
Toni Sprandel

Again, you make me laugh! I love the “Tami” version of scripture! Your post is so true, we need to help our new believers get the old grave clothes off! Thank you!

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

This has been a fun series to write. The Lord just kind of “popped” it into my head. I’ve laughed and cried my way through writing it. He is so good to us! 🙂

\o/

26 06 2013
walter bright

great post!

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks!

\o/

26 06 2013
vonhonnauldt

Grace post, as usual (better than “great”). One thing I’ve always kind of found interesting in that story. How did Lazarus, bound hand and foot and with his face covered, get out of the tomb?

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂 Thanks so much!

As for Lazarus’ exodus, tune in tomorrow!

\o/

26 06 2013
Rebekah L

Ah, thank you for the reminder of what our part in this whole redemption story is and for the reminder that we did nothing to be born again. It isn’t our work or our glory. It all belongs to Him! Thank you Jesus for being willing to call me forth for surely I “stinkethed.” Great word, btw 🙂

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

This story has been coming to life before my very eyes as I’ve written it. There are so many things I’ve never seen in this redemption story before. What a blessing this series has been to write. God is so good!

(I liked the new word, too. ;))
\o/

26 06 2013
cshowers

This was exciting, and revelatory! What you shared about how it’s our job to set the captives free, I’ve known, but I’ve never seen it in the story of Lazarus before, and it was such a blessing. Your passion for the word was evident in this post and the last. Wonderful. I can’t wait to read more.

Much love and many blessings,
Cheryl

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

That makes two of us. I’m learning even as I type. I’ve got tears running down my face even now. God is so good to us, you know it? 🙂

\o/

26 06 2013
cshowers

Amen!

26 06 2013
To Give You Hope

Beautifully seasoned commentary! You gave me a cup of inspiration to start my day!

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

So glad to be of service. It always amazes me that Jesus, who could do things Himself, honors us with an invitation to join Him in His work. He’s awesome!

\o/

26 06 2013
To Give You Hope

Amen to that!

26 06 2013
I Expected More | Lessons by Heart

[…] Don’t miss the end of this story. Spoiler: Lazarus lives! Read about it in Waking the Dead.  […]

26 06 2013
blmaluso

Yes, it’s so amazing how we are all interconnected. Once you realize that, you become more attuned to souls in need, through the Holy Spirit’s whisper in your heart.

I will pick up “Waking the Dead”. I have found that God provides me with lessons I need at particular times through others. So…thanks so much: – )

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

The book is good – the workbook is where I found the most benefit.

The first time I read the book my mom was ill – and then moved to heaven.
Every chapter stirred up something in me, and I hand-wrote a chapter of my own, like a journal. Every chapter ended with Irenaeus’ quote, and then my own prayer. i.e. “The glory of God is [wo]man fully alive, Lord help me to live (love, sing,etc.) again.

When I picked up the journal, I realized two things – I had a journal of my journey through the “Valley of the Shadow” (very precious to me), and God answered every one of my requests! Enjoy the book!

Oh, check http://www.abebooks.com for your purchases. You can probably pick up both books for $1 each plus $3-4 shipping. I buy as many books as possible from them.

\o/

26 06 2013
blmaluso

Thanks so much for the info. Feel blessed that we found eachother!

26 06 2013
blmaluso

Wow…your words really touched me today. Lots of stuff to think about. “Because you’ve been through it, you’ve got tools that are especially beneficial for the removal of specific bindings.” After years of being bound myself, I am now blessed to realize how the Lord is using me to help others open their hearts to Jesus’ love. In fact, I am signed up to attend an “Unbound” seminar that teaches that very thing. God is sure working through you and your blog: – ) Thank you for being his vessel.

26 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Isn’t God good to invite us to work with Him – and equip us through such a wide variety of ways?

“Unbound” sounds good. I’ve been through many excellent studies as I’ve sought for healing. Last year I went through John Eldredge’s book, “Waking the Dead.” It was excellent. Today’s post was birthed from a bit of that study.

Go get ’em! There are many who need what the Lord has given you as His steward. 🙂
\o/

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