After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.” John 11:43-44 HCSB
In preparing a body for burial in Bible times it was common practice to use one linen strip that went from the feet, up the back, and then over the head and back down the front of the body to the feet. Linen strips were then put around the body at different intervals and tied in place. Additional strips were usually tied across the mouth and eyes. Often herbs, spices, and oils were placed on and around the body to help counteract the odor of decaying flesh.
This is the reason Lazarus was bound hand and foot with linen strips. This burial method would have been the same method used when Jesus was put in the tomb. The Sabbath was coming and they quickly put Jesus’ body in the tomb bound with the linen strips. The women got up early on Sunday morning to go to the tomb to anoint the body and properly prepare it for burial, but when they arrived the body was gone and the linen clothes were folded and lying on the stone inside the tomb. Resurrection for Jesus happened just as he had promised.
In today’s Scripture reference Jesus then commanded them, “Loose him and let him go.” We read this and we celebrate that Lazarus was brought back to life. But can you imagine the joy of being in heaven for a few days, radiating in the beauty and majesty of God’s glory and having to come back to this earth? That would have been a let down, but all of this was done to bring honor and glory to God and to prove that Jesus was who He claimed to be – the Son of God.
Challenge: Only Jesus can release us from the bondage of sin and death. He alone has defeated death on the Cross. If you believe in Him you will receive power over death and live with Him in heaven for all eternity.