Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:42-43
Does anything about that miracle catch your attention? Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, but Lazarus was still bound in the graveclothes. Lazarus didn’t walk out looking like he’s just arrived from an extended spa vacation.
Jesus also didn’t snap His fingers and cause the wrappings to dramatically drop to the ground. No. After watching Lazarus awkwardly waddle or hop or whatever he did to get out of the tomb, after letting everyone around see Lazarus, alive but struggling, Jesus called on those nearby to step up and help him out. Like the feeding of the 5000, others got to participate in the miracle.
In a similar way, every day, all around us, Jesus is calling people out of spiritual, eternal death. They come out of the darkness and into His light, but they are still bound in graveclothes. They aren’t perfect. They still carry old attitudes, habits or ideas with them. They stagger and stumble. All too often, we shake our heads at this point and walk away.
Can you imagine anyone walking away from that cemetery in Bethany? Or refusing Jesus’s call to get Lazarus loose? Me either. It is up to us to participate in those miracles around us by stepping in and helping untangle new believers from their old graveclothes. Not in a snotty sanctimonious way, but with a humble realization that somebody had to untangle us as well.
We also have to recognize that sometimes they’re going to get tangled back up in those graveclothes. And honestly, so do we. Jesus could say the word and make everything perfect, and one day He will. In the meantime, this is His plan– that we help each other, that we give and take, that we grow and go.
So don’t stand back watching. Step up. Unwrap and untangle.