Jesus had called Lazarus from the grave, and out he stumbled. But he was still bound by the grave-clothes wound around his body and face. Others had placed these winding cloths on him, and now it took others to free him from them. When we become a Believer we are raised from the dead unto eternal life, but for many of us, we continue to wear the trappings of the tomb. These hindrances cling to us like grave-clothes, impeding our movement forward and blinding us from the truth. And just like Lazarus, it was someone else that placed them on us, binding us up in sin, addiction, and pain. So it takes others to free us from these grave clothes…to come along side to encourage, exhort, and unloose the sins that still bind us to the past.
You were on the Lord’s mind long before you had ever heard of Him. He saw you saved and made whole when you were at the very lowest point in your life. He saw you doing great things for Him way before you had the confidence to step out in the abilities He had given you. For the Lord not only knew your name… He saw the person you would become through Him.
The Lord says to you today…come back. Turn around and face Me, for it’s only by Me that you can be delivered from all the evil that still clings to you. You may have accepted Me in the past, but you are still a slave to things you have not been able to give up. You have been set free of those things, but you either don’t fully realize it or just don’t want to leave them behind. Change directions today… for those chains that have bound you in the past have been broken off – you are no longer a victim…you are a victor.
Jesus Christ is that open door, sacrificing His life in order to make a way to God. And it’s only through His death, burial, and resurrection that we have this open door of faith that we can freely walk through. The final sentence in these Scriptures states, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” This has to give hope to all that have been praying for a lost love one. No one can shut this door on them. This open door of hope will always be there…standing wide open to welcome them in.
The disciples thought Jesus was confused and making a mistake for wanting to go back to a place where He had almost been killed. But where they were coming from was a very incorrect and sorely limited understanding, perception, and interpretation of just who Jesus was and what He could do. Psalm 18:30 tells us that, “As for God, His way is perfect.” Nothing that God has done or will ever do is a miscalculation or blunder. His Will in your life is faultless, flawless, and correct in every detail…and His timing is always perfect.
In our minds, we’d love to have it…the perfect Christmas, complete with bells and mistletoe, gifts and family. But it usually doesn’t work out that way, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas stress takes over and we find ourselves focused on the wrong things. We’re worshipping the problems by worrying…we’re devoting ourselves to a crazy schedule out of desperation…and we’re putting up on a pedestal the to-do list only we think must get done. Quit fretting and stewing over the small stuff…Christmas will happen with or without every detail being done and it will be perfect in its imperfect way. For if you think about it…there has been only one “perfect” Christmas…and it happened in all places – a cow shed.
For Simon Peter, he had come full circle from that first encounter with Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He and his brother, Andrew, were fishing when this stranger approached them and declared, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Now three years later, following Jesus’ death and resurrection and Peter’s denial of Him…Peter has been restored and re-commissioned. “Follow Me,” is fellowship of faith and life with our Savior…it’s both inner fellowship of trust and confidence, and outer fellowship of becoming more like Him daily. “Follow Me,” ultimately means counting the cost and determining it’s all worth it.