Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 10, 2013

From Grave to Grace

Are you wearing grave clothes? Does sin have you bound? Maybe someone close to you is trapped in wrongdoing. Do you know anyone locked away in the legacy of poor choices? Deliverance is needed and Jesus can deliver! He will bestow the grace that can raise us from the grave. 

Lazarus lay dead in a tomb outside of Jerusalem near the town of Bethany. His two sisters, Martha and Mary, had wrapped him in his burial garments and laid him there. News had been sent to their good friend Jesus. By the time Jesus got to Bethany and the home of His friends, Lazarus had been dead four days. Yet Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb to perform a miracle so that believers would see the glory of God. He declared, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came out of the tomb bound from head to foot in his grave clothes.

Jesus performed a mighty miracle. He raised a dead man and people were astonished. He then made a statement to those around Him. He said, “Loose him, and let him go.” What? My goodness! If Jesus just raised Lazarus from the dead, couldn’t He unbind him from the burial wrappings? Why did He tell someone else to do it? Yes, Lazarus was alive (thanks to Jesus), but he was unable to free himself from the things that bound him. He needed assistance. Jesus rescued and released Lazarus from death, redeeming Him through grace. Now Jesus instructed his family and friends to help him gain complete freedom from the grave. (John 11:1-44).

Paul and Silas sat in a prison cell, their feet bound between heavy blocks of wood. They had been beaten and thrown in prison after commanding, in the name of Jesus Christ, that a spirit of divination come out of a young girl. She provided great profit for her masters until the spirit left her and now she could no longer tell fortunes. Their hope of earnings vanished and anger consumed these men as they seized Paul and Silas, desiring vengeance. 

Once in prison, Paul and Silas did not give into a defeatist attitude. Instead they began to pray and sing praises to the Lord, bringing Him glory. Suddenly an earthquake hit, the foundation of the prison house shook, the doors opened, and everyone’s chains unfastened. Immediately the prison guard drew his sword to kill himself until Paul informed him that no one had left. Trembling with fear, the guard asked how he could be saved. Paul and Silas said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” After receiving the word of the Lord, the guard cleansed the wounds of Paul and Silas, and then he and his household was baptized. Rejoicing greatly, the guard brought them into his house and fed them (Acts 16:16-34).

Both of these incidents were momentous for the people involved. They all witnessed miracles. These occurrences progressed from somber moods to generous blessings. These happenings shifted from grave to grace, thanks to the favor of God. He entered the lives of His people and liberated them from their captivity. Praise God! 

He then goes a step further. God impresses upon His people the need to assist each other, to carry one another’s burdens. Jesus directed people at a grave site to unloose the bindings of a resurrected man, allowing complete release from death. The jail guard felt a need to cleanse the wounds of freed prisoners and then feed them, providing strength to their bodies. What great examples of people exhibiting grace like Jesus, causing bystanders to see the glory of God! As the Word says, “Bear one another’s burdens — in this way you will be fulfilling the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds.” Galatians 6:2 (CJB - Complete Jewish Bible)

Our Messiah, Jesus, lay dead in the tomb of Joseph from Arimathea. Joseph had asked for Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb where no one had ever lain. The women followers of Jesus saw the tomb and how His body rested, later returning with prepared spices and perfumes for the body. But on the Sabbath when they went back to the tomb, they saw the stone rolled away and the body of the Lord Jesus gone. The angels told the women that He had risen. After telling Jesus’ disciples about the missing body, Peter ran to the tomb and saw only the linen wrappings (Luke 23:53-24:12). Risen from the dead, set free from death? His grave clothes lay in the tomb as proof. Jesus was completely unshackled, victorious over life and death. Then and now He grants grace to any who believe. 

Are you bound by a stressful situation? Do you know of someone in captivity? Believe that God through Christ Jesus can redeem (buy back) you and/or your loved one from the grave and bestow grace. It’s then that followers of Jesus are called to put their beliefs into action, extending the grace of God to all in need. We must be a body of believers who lift each other up from the bindings of the grave to God’s glorious grace.

...the grace of God was upon Him...  Luke 2:40 (NASB)
...we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth...  John 1:14 (NKJV)
...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ... John 1:17 (NKJV)

Thank you, Father, for your free and unmerited favor. May we extend your grace to those in need of your mercy, living life like Jesus, helping to set captives free! In the mighty name of Jesus, AMEN.

Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  Ezekiel 37:12 (NKJV)

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more...  Romans 5:20 (NKJV)
 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.  Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

1 comment:

  1. This was such an on time post. Thank you for this anointed blog. I really needed to hear Romans 16:20 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be also with you!!! Love Sharon.