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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts: Power

I got to spend the weekend in northern Michigan to attend the wedding of two sweet friends - Nik and Theresa.  Alan and I took an extra day to vacation up there - beautiful!

The water up there looks like the waters of the Caribbean.  Seriously, I could not believe it was Lake Michigan and other lakes that feed into it.  It was one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen.  We already want to go back!

I've been reading in the gospel of John this past week.  I love this gospel and the way that John sees things.  His perspective is unique.  Of all the apostles, John lives the longest and offers us so much insight into the life of Jesus.  I read the account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead this week.  Wow - what an event!  He was a close friend of Jesus'.  Jesus gets word that He is seriously ill and then He waits 4 days to go and see him.  By this time, Lazarus is dead and already buried in a tomb.  There are wailing mourners, upset sisters and puzzled disciples.  And then this happens . . .

"When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice,'Lazarus, come forth.'  The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'"
John 11:43-44

There are a hundred lessons in this account of Lazarus' death, Jesus' response, the reactions of Mary and Martha and the questions and comments from the disciples.  So this time, as I read through the account, I was struck by Jesus crying out with a loud voice - Lazarus, come forth and the sheer power of that.

The same voice that brought creation into existence also brought a dead man back to life.  

Death shook in terror at the voice of Jesus.

The same thing is true of spiritual death.  When I was dead in my sin, Jesus cried out and called me out of death into life.  He unbinds me from a life of self focus, pride, emptiness and purposelessness and brings me into a life lived with Him and for Him.

There are times when remarkably enough - I find myself trying to climb back into that stinky tomb.  I grasp at dirty bandages and attempt to reapply them.  In those times, the voice of Jesus cries out - death jumps back and life returns.  The power of spiritual resurrection always prevails because Jesus conquered death.  Death has no hold on me physically or spiritually.

Whenever I get a whiff of that stench, I have the choice to grab hold of the resurrection power of Jesus.  I do not have to stay in that place where I am imprisoned by my old, crusty bandages.  Jesus offers freedom.  Not only are those bandages removed - but I am then let go.  I am free to respond to God's call on my life.  I am free to love others and move forward in a healthy, whole way.

How do you see yourself today?

Do you see yourself as free - or are you wound up tightly in old bandages?

Maybe you have never allowed Jesus to remove those things that bind you.

Maybe you have just forgotten to call on that 
freedom that is yours.

Maybe you are standing in the doorway of the tomb, seriously considering going back in there.  After all, a tomb is a dark, quiet, safe place.

It is also a place of death.

Grab hold of the power of the resurrection of Jesus.  

In it there is life.

In it there is purpose.

In it there is freedom.

Jesus said to them, 
"Unbind him and let him go." 

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