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Weekly Devotion – John 11:44

By Mike Caton

John 11:44, The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

The Jewish burial customs involved washing the corpse, usually with herbs and such to help keep down the natural stink of death. The body would then be wrapped in strips of clean linen cloth, think more or less an Egyptian mummy. A cloth would be placed over the head and face and then it would be tied to keep the mouth shut. Also, the hands and feet would be tied to keep the body together.

Jesus calls into the deathly stillness of that grave. Can you imagine the tension? And there comes Lazarus, shuffling out of the tomb, as best he could, bound up like that. Can you imagine the faces of those people! Can you imagine what Mary and Martha must have thought? Can you imagine what Lazarus must have thought? And yet, Jesus has defied all of their imaginations, and this is not just imagination, this is reality! Lazarus does not just appear to have come back, he has actually come back!

Think about this for a moment, Jesus has displayed his power over death. Lazarus has been dead for four days; do you know what happens to a dead body after four days? Lazarus has not just passed out, not swooned, not been asleep. He was dead and Jesus called him back to life. So, what is there in your life that Jesus cannot do? What problem do you have that is too big for God? We all need to come out from our tomb of a problem, and we need to get those grave clothes off, because that is not who we are any more.

Father, thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.

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