Several years ago, when I moved out of my apartment, I made repeated visits to the empty dwelling to check for mail, even though it was already being forwarded to my new address. I hadn’t turned in the key because there was still time on my lease. I lived in my apartment for more than 12 years and had mixed emotions about moving. Part of me wanted to stay because it was my comfort zone. I feared venturing into the new territory of home ownership. Deep down I knew it was time to move on. Unbeknownst to me on what was to be my last visit, before I could open the door I heard myself say, “I don’t live there anymore.” It was time to put the past behind me and step out of the old and into the new things God had in store for me. In retrospect, eight years later I’ve learned I wouldn’t have experienced such deliverance and so many great blessings if I hadn’t moved out of the grave of comfortable captivity.
In John 11:17, Lazarus had been buried four days. By all appearances, it seemed he was permanently trapped in a dead situation. However, Jesus issued three commands. The first command was, “Take ye away the stone” (John 11:39). When God delivers you, He speaks to whatever holds you captive. Only He can remove the hindrance that blocks your progress.
In the second command Jesus “Cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” Jesus directed the call specifically to Lazarus. He didn’t enter Lazarus’ grave. Rather He summoned Lazarus out of a dead situation. Even though the call seemed impossible given his condition, it demanded a response from Lazarus. After four days in the tomb, Lazarus’ body began to decay, and bugs consumed his flesh. When Lazarus exited the grave, everything had to come back together. He didn’t look like what he came out of. John 12:2 shows a restored Lazarus sitting at the table with Jesus. Salvation demands your deliverance and restoration. God delivers you completely so there’s nothing missing, nothing lacking, and nothing broken.
Jesus’ final command was to “loose him, and let him go.” Lazarus was bound in three areas; his hands, feet and face (John 11:44). Hands are a symbol of power. The inability to move his hands meant his productivity was bound. With his feet bound he remained stuck in his issues. The cover on Lazarus’ face hid his identity and obscured his vision. He couldn’t see beyond his circumstances. Although bound, Lazarus was still called. He came to Jesus just as he was. Like Lazarus you can’t be loosed from your circumstances until you surrender everything to Jesus. Jesus never intends for you to stay in the same place. You are called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. God has commanded your deliverance. Deliverance is an event and a process. It requires you to be an active participant in your deliverance process.
The last thing Satan wants is for you to realize your potential and who God created you to be. Satan can’t change the awesome future God has planned for you, so he works day and night to keep you looking back. He wants you to believe you’ll always be confined by your past. Christ’s death, burial and resurrection removed the stone called your past. Your past may have been plagued with depression, failure and fear. But your past doesn’t dictate your future. You’ve been created for good success. Whenever the enemy tries to bring up your past remind him you don’t live there anymore.
Jesus’ command for Lazarus to come forth presented him with three choices. First, he could make excuses and stay stuck in a dead situation. Second, he could try to free himself before coming to Jesus. Third, he could simply obey Jesus’ command to come forth. Jesus is calling you out of the tomb of your past. What’s holding you back?
Until Next Time…Be blessed!
Rev. Cynthia Jackson