The 11th Chapter of John (cont.)-

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Jesus is disturbed at the death of his friend and so Jesus, moved in a way only God could be moved, does something that only God could do: He takes away the stone that seals death as the end of life. This is true of the stone that held Lazarus in his tomb just as it is for the stone that sealed Jesus’s tomb. It is also true for our places of death. Life busts in where death’s shroud and stench seek to bind and decay.

And so the tomb is opened. What was once lost to death is given life again.

The stench of death that lingers in the air or in our hearts, and in the death of friends, is not the last smell we smell. This is what Christ has done in the crucifixion and resurrection. The power of death is broken. God has the last word and that word is eternal life in Jesus.

And so, for Lazarus, Jesus gives the command to unbind him.

We are cut free from the grave clothes. We are called out of the tomb. We are given new life. For some of us, it will take some time to be unbound from the grave clothes. We might even wear them always as a piece of us. However, in the end, death fails for God has broken in giving life. Slowly and surely God is working to heal and mend, to cut us free from the things that bind us.