In John 11, Jesus shows up on the scene right after Lazarus dies. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, are extremely disappointed at Jesus being a no show. And then, as many of us know, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead! Now this story should end with a big fat exclamation point. God raised a dead man back to life like only God can! How amazing! But it doesn’t end there.
Lazarus is sitting in his grave clothes and Jesus looks at him and says “take his grave clothes off and let him go!” It is as if Jesus says to Lazarus and those around him- ‘Why do you sit here as though you are dead? You are alive! Now live!’
It is so easy for us to settle. It is so easy for us to think “it could be so much worse.” It is so easy for us to become ok with parts of us living as though we are dead. Yet we have a God who wants more for us than just a pulse! We have a God who wants us to fully live unencumbered. I have found that so many of us walk around carrying baggage. We have names we call ourselves, insecurities that affect our daily lives, and memories that haunt us. We have relational baggage, religious baggage and family baggage. We wake up each day with these things walking around with us like a heavy suitcase getting in the way of the journey set before us. And many of us have become so accustomed to this baggage that we carry that we barely notice we are carrying it. I think Jesus wants to collide with us and call us to take off what encumbers us so we can truly take off and live!