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  • David Bent

Unwrapped (03-10-22)

Psalm of Praise: Psalms 51:1-2, 10

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.


Bible Reading: John 11:38-44

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.

"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days."

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

So they took away the stone.

Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"

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."


A Reflection:

We recently bought a child’s scooter from Amazon for one of our grandchildren. The manufacturers had folded it up and packed it in one of their shop display boxes. Amazon put that box in another box with padding round it and then put that box in a third box to post it. A lot of boxes for a toddler to get through on her first birthday in order to find the gift!


We removed all the boxes except the original one and wrapped that up in birthday paper. Even then she needed help to get to the scooter and to unfold it.


When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he came out of the tomb wrapped up in the grave clothes and with a grave cloth over his face. It seemed he couldn’t remove them himself so Jesus told his family and friends to take them off and let him go.


When we put our faith in Jesus and become Christians, St Paul likens it to going from death to life. We have died and been buried with him in his death so that we can rise to new life (Romans 6:4). It seems to me that often, when we rise to new life as a Christian, we do so wrapped in the grave clothes of our former life. We are alive in Christ but still need to be set free from the trappings of the past in order to fully enjoy his gift of abundant life.


These grave clothes might take the form of sins in our life, either things we have done that have hurt others for which we need to receive forgiveness, or things that others have done that have hurt us, for which we need to offer forgiveness. They may take the form of a distorted view of God, focussing more on legalism than on grace or they may be about our priorities in life that we need to rethink.


Are there things in your past that inhibit you from fully experiencing the life God offers you?

Will you name them before Jesus and allow him to set you free?


Pray:

Father God, I ask your forgiveness for all that is wrong in my life.

Set me free from the past to enjoy my new life in Christ.

Amen


Let there be joy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwDsB5NMGqw

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