Take Off The Grave Clothes

When Jesus rose from the dead, he left the grave clothes behind. It’s time for you and me to rise and step out of the grave clothes, once and for all.

I was sitting in a chair across from Donna, who was counseling me following the breakup of my marriage. I told Donna that I was done with relationships. I didn’t believe I could ever love or trust again. I was going to play it safe the rest of my life. I would keep everyone at arm’s length.

“I see,” she said. And, then after a moment of reflection: “That’s not much of an existence, is it?”

Ouch.

That stung a bit. But, I couldn’t argue with her.

I was trying to sell Donna on the notion that I could live without love, that I could do without intimacy. Who really needs that to be happy, anyway?

The truth is that I was avoiding some very deep issues: I was wounded, I was bitter; I wanted the justice that I felt I deserved.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you been betrayed? Persecuted? Falsely accused? Have you been violated? Beaten? Abandoned by those you love and trust?

It’s easy (and natural) to feel sorry for ourselves: People tell me I need to cheer up, that I need to move on. But, they don’t understand. They don’t know what I’m going through.

You are right. People don’t understand what you are going through. But, there is someone who does.

There is someone who knows just how you feel. He understands, because he, too, was betrayed, falsely accused and persecuted. He was violated, beaten and abandoned. He endured all of those things, even unto death.

Jesus paid it all.

After three days, the stone was rolled away. Jesus was gone, risen from the dead. And amid the wonderment of the empty grave, Simon Peter, one of the disciples, noticed something very peculiar:

He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. (John 20: 6b-7 NIV)

Jesus had left the grave, and he didn’t take his grave clothes with him.

Many of us today are walking around in grave clothes. Saved but not delivered. No longer in Egypt, but still in bondage.

Christ didn’t go to the cross so we could remain captives.

When we truly know Jesus, when our hearts fully embrace what He did on the cross, it is impossible not to shed the grave clothes of woundedness, bitterness and unforgiveness.

You may have a disease or infirmity that has wrecked your body, but it doesn’t have to wreck your spirit. You may have failed relationships, but you don’t have to have a failed spirit. You may have a life of poverty, but you don’t have to have an impoverished spirit.

The Bible says that because of Jesus, you are different. Your circumstances do not define you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Jesus died for you and in that sacrifice, your sins were covered and your healing made complete.

When we continue to walk around in grave clothes, when our lives don’t reflect what Jesus did for us, when we think that things will never change for us or that we’re not deserving—when we think and do these things—we diminish the cross.

The cross demands a response from us. And, that response is that we live in victory.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he left the grave clothes behind. It’s time for you and me to rise and step out of the grave clothes, once and for all.

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Author Rodney Brandt

Rodney Brandt is passionate about his Christian faith and helping others discover the life God has intended for them.

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