The story of raising Lazarus from the dead has always intrigued me. Due to my familiarity with the story it is not the resurrection that captures my thought. I am more captured by the circumstances surrounding the resurrection act. Jesus was in another place when he gets word Lazarus is ill, Jesus himself declares Lazarus has died. It is also Jesus who knows the plan of raising Lazarus from the dead.
They get to the village and are confronted by the sisters, "If you had been here Jesus, our brother would not have died." How often do we come to Jesus in the same mindset. If you would have acted they way I prefer Lord, we would not be in this mess right now. Never do we give a thought that maybe in the middle of the mess is exactly where Jesus wants us to be. Jesus ends up at the tomb and calling Lazarus out of the tomb. Lazarus then emerges grave clothes and all.
The lines of Jesus are then offered, "take off the grave clothes and let him go." There is a very real and practical application here. Lazarus was more than likely wrapped and prepared for placement in the tomb. I cannot help but wonder if Jesus is not talking to the people, but rather talking to death itself. Many even though they are alive are walking around with the grip of death wrapped around them. Jesus says take off death and be free.
That is a message of encouragement for you and I today. No matter what has happened in our life, no matter how we have tied death around us, Jesus commands take the grave clothes off and be free. We simple must chose to release the power of sin and death, and claim the freedom of Christ. The freedom to follow and trust.