That the ministry of Jesus was marked with the miraculous and also the unpredictable is an understatement. Who would have expected; walking on water, or spit and mud for new eyeballs, or even cursing the fig tree? at least for the disciples anyway. What was more baffling for them was perhaps the incident of the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus in John 11, where Jesus delayed his coming to Lazarus. He could have gotten to him in time before he died but he deliberately delayed his arrival. Not only that but when Jesus heard of the death of his friend, he said; “….Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.” John 11:14-15
What a strange thing to say. But Jesus wanted to demonstrate that not only was he a healer but he has power over life and death, that even after 4 days of being dead, He was able to resurrect his friend. In all likelihood, he was preparing the disciples for his imminent death and resurrection.
So the story continues that when Jesus get’s to Bethany, he goes to Lazarus’ grave where his body was laid after being dead for 4 days. He commands the stone to be rolled away from the entrance of the grave and he commands; “Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. John 11:43-44
Incredibly, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead. But I want to highlight what Jesus commanded those around him to do:
Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Lazarus was alive but he was all wrapped up with grave clothes. He could hardly advance forward as his hands and feet were bound. This is a beautiful picture of the role of the Church.
God is resurrecting lost souls; being born again of the water and Spirit. Myriads that were dead in sin are being born anew, truly the Spirit of Jesus is at work in the world today. But many of them are bound in grave clothes of personal hang ups and issues. That’s why many people who become converted and filled with the Holy Spirit are not immediately made perfect or are without problems and things they must work on. They still have their grave clothes on.
As a Church, that is what we’re called to do is to help one another remove those things that are restricting us. The value of spiritual fellowship and being part of God’s community, his Church is immeasurable. There are things that God does on his own and things that we must do for ourselves but there is something extremely valuable in our fellowship one with another.
God uses each of us to bless one another and sometimes unwittingly “…to provoke unto love and to good works:” Heb 10:24 one another. Sometimes God uses our brethren in the Church to reveal a character flaw or an issue that is keeping us bound from the fullness of the stature of the image of Christ.
So this is my encouragement to you. Don’t walk away from God or the Church because a fellow Christian has offended you. Perhaps God was using them to show you about that anger problem or insecurity, or pride that can still bind you, so that you can be LOOSED or UNLEASHED from that which is keeping you bound.
This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.