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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday message: The wrappings

In my weekly readings I hit upon the story of the death of Lazarus, and noticed one important detail- he came out of the grave all wrapped up.  Why is this important?

I have recently heard a couple of sermons on how Jesus' cures were temporary- whether it was a lame leg, blind eyes, or a dead body, these people all ended up dying.  Jesus' miracles were a foretaste of what was to come, never meant to be permanent.

I've said many times, God is about the big picture.  So let's look at Lazarus.  He was dead- and for at least four days.  Is there a greater miracle Jesus could have done for him than bring him back to life?  But notice the scenario.  Jesus commanded the mourners to roll away the rock blocking his tomb.  He prayed; but for their own benefit:

Joh 11:41 Then they took away the stone where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
Joh 11:42 And I know that You hear Me always, but because of the people who stand by I said it, so that they may believe that You have sent Me.
And when Lazarus came out, He commanded the mourners to free him.  What do you see in that?

1- The believers had to take the first step.  A given in any situation.
2- Once raised- once he had received the GREATEST miracle Jesus could give a mortal man- he still needed the help of others.
3-Lazarus was brought back to a mortal life.  He could not remove the burial wraps himself.  Remember when Jesus rose?

Joh 20:4 So they both ran together. And the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb.
Joh 20:5 And stooping down he saw the linens lying, yet he did not go in.
Joh 20:6 Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb. And he saw the linens lying there.
Joh 20:7 And the grave-cloth that was on His head was not lying with the linens, but was wrapped up in one place by itself.
The way I am given to understand this is Jesus passed THROUGH His wraps- because He was wearing His glorified body. And He didn't come alone:

The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth quaked, and the rocks were sheared,
Mat 27:52 and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep arose,
Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tomb after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Note that they came out of the tomb AFTER Jesus arose- and not bound by any burial cloths, but free to travel at will.  The defeat of death by His resurrection enabled them to cast off death as He had, following His example.

So there is a big difference between the GREATEST fleshly miracle that can be done for a man, and the SPIRITUAL miracle which Jesus did for ALL men.  Even a dead man can raise one from the dead:

2Ki 13:20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at first of the year.
2Ki 13:21 And it happened as they were burying a man, behold, they spied a band. And they threw the man into the grave of Elisha. And the man went down and touched the bones of Elisha, and revived and stood up on his feet.
But Jesus, without so much as a touch, raises all of us up by His victory.  Okay, so what's the connection to daily life?

My blog friend Shirley posted recently being questioned about what the Gospel is:
I was asked recently, “What do you think the Gospel is?””

I responded that it is what Jesus said: the Gospel is what He preached. ...


Then the question was, “But what about healings and the speaking in tongues? That’s part of the Gospel, isn’t it? Why don’t we believe in healings anymore? That’s why the church is in such trouble it’s in.”

Well, here's the thing.  The healings, the speaking in tongues, they are all well and good in that they edify, they bring some to faith- or greater faith.  But just like Lazarus, they depend on the faithful to take part- to get the ball, er, rock rolling at the beginning, and to follow through at the end.  The greater miracle is the resurrection, the bringing by Christ of all of us into the next phase.

The Church isn't "in trouble" because "we don't believe in healings anymore"; we are in trouble because we waste our prayers on politicians, earthly causes, battles here on earth.  How we pray, where we attend mass, what to write on our protest sign when we go stand on the sidewalk of an abortion clinic.  We are in trouble because we are praying for the body... and not for the soul.  Even the greatest cure is a temporary thing.


  1. Get ready for the cheese…

    I think we are in trouble because most families don't pray together. The family that prays together, stays together. Plus, they pass on the faith, the most important thing to me, onto their kids. I've been doing blessings with the kids since they were tiny. That lead them into prayer…and faith. Just my cheesy thoughts *smiles*

    1. That's not cheese... that's edification. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. A very insightful Sunday blog bit, as usual, BROTHER MARTIN.

    >>... The way I am given to understand this is Jesus passed THROUGH His wraps- because He was wearing His glorified body

    I have spent many, many hours studying the Shroud of Turin, and as a result I am about as convinced as I could be that it is the genuine burial cloth that Jesus' dead body was placed in.

    The Shroud contains some evidence suggesting that the body it covered actually passed THROUGH the linen causing the cloth to collapse on itself.

    So, if the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus, then your understanding seems to be in line with the physical evidence left behind on His shroud.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. And insightful comments like this is why I hope your new blog might occasionally step off the BOTB trail. You have some great insights to share that don't necessarily get covered in music or politics.

    Thanks so much for the very nice compliment.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  4. Yes, we are (too many of us), wasting our prayers and we are in danger of Him turning His face against us when we do this. Good explanation.