I purposefully avoided an Easter blog; I covered my thoughts at Christmas and have little to add;
Today though I want to pick up a thought offered by my friend Keith (http://keithroyal.wordpress.com/) during his sermon yesterday (oh yeah, he’s also my Pastor)
John 11; Lazarus has died, has been laid in his tomb and a stone covered the entrance. Jesus has spoken with Lazarus’ sisters, assured Martha that He IS the resurrection and the life, and now He stands at the tomb, prays and calls to Lazarus,
“Lazarus, come forth!”
“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 11:43-44 (NKJV)*1
Lazarus was resurrected, made alive, brought out of the tomb to new life … yet still wrapped in the clothes of death. These clothes kept him bound, restricted, unable to embrace this new life, unable to be the brother and friend he should, unable to experience the fullness of life that is Jesus the Christ, unable even to please God. Do accomplish any of that he must be loosed from the grave clothes and set free.
We who were once dead in our trespasses have been made alive in Him (Eph 2:1) and yet we remain wrapped in our grave clothes; bound, hindered, ineffectual children of the Most High. We were loosed from these filthy rags, and yet we reach down and wrap them around us anew with every sin commit. We were released from these encumbrances, and yet we reach down and pick them up anew with every sin we cherish. We were set free from these burdens and yet we reach down to enslave ourselves again because we fail to leave alone the sin we love.
We are idiots.
and yet He loves us anyway, knowing how we would act, loved us before the foundation of the world, loves us so much He would rather die than be separated from us, would rather put aside the praise of heaven, the glory of all creation, empty Himself to pull on the frail stinking skin of a man, become sin and die, painfully rather than be separated from one of us.
… and our response is to pull our grave clothes back around our shoulders.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:16-22 (NKJV)*1
*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”