We have just stepped through the door of Holy Week where we meditate on the cross and resurrection. Where would we be without them?
Ever since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, we had been bound - wrapped tightly in grave clothes of sin's shadow and death's hunt, and worse, separation from God by our own making. But, when we come to understand the cross and what it means, we come to understand just how loved we really are!
At the Last Supper, Jesus did not tell the disciples to remember all the good times they shared and the amazing miracles performed. No, He told them to remember the cross – when God did the most intimate act of all time: Love came down in passionate pursuit to bring us back and nothing would keep Him away. He died so we can live. Jesus said remember...
“Do this in remembrance of me...” as He broke the bread representing his body broken for us. He then took the cup representing every last drop of His blood poured out for us. He said remember this day when I shattered sin's hard, ruthless hold. Remember My deep love for you. Please, don't forget who you are now in Me - freed and intensely loved children of God,
The cross is the hinge-point of history. Before and after. Before the cross there was fractured separation and sealed tomb darkness. After: Rolled away stone; blinding love-light, and full restoration with God. What Satan stole in the garden, Jesus redeemed on the cross! His deep love for us did this. It has been said that “Nails held Jesus to the cross but love made Him stay”.
John 15:13: “Greater love hath no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
When Christ resurrected, all that remained in the tomb were the grave clothes: The silent, left behind witness of the resurrection. In the original Greek language, the grave clothes are described in scripture as “still being in their folds”. Picture a sleeping bag form with no body inside. This is what his disciples saw when they looked into the tomb. The only way to remove a body from balm-and-blood-soaked strips of linen while keeping that shape would be to evaporate out of them! The grave clothes spoke a testimony to us all that death was defeated that day. He says believe, live in Me now, in glory now, not grave clothes!
I must admit, sometimes I still find myself wrapping myself in things that make me forget who I am: A beloved, freed daughter of God. I will all too often drape grave cloth made of worry, anxiety, feelings of rejection, my picky perfectionism and people-pleasing tendencies over my spirit, heart, and mind. Jesus says don't do that anymore! Remember me...remember who you are now.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
We are to no longer be bound by the grave clothes of this world but be free in Him and live each day like what He did on the cross and His resurrection matters, because it does! Friend, if you are ever tempted to bind yourself up in those things that only serve to rot and destroy; don't. I also pledge this.
Let us leave them behind in the tomb where they belong and hold to Him instead. Live in glory, not in grave clothes; He died and rose for this. Let's all live resurrected lives! Because now, praise God - we can!
Question: What are your grave clothes made of? Can you leave them behind and live a fully resurrected life in Christ?