John 11:28-44

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 18, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Jesus’ friend Lazarus had become very sick.  Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, had sent word to Jesus to come quickly.  But Jesus didn’t come immediately.  Instead He waited two days before setting out to Bethany where the family lived.  By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days.

Martha has already spoken to Jesus.  She rebuked Jesus for not coming and seemed to blame Him for Lazarus’ death.  When Jesus told her that He was the resurrection and life, she said she believed in Him.

11:28-44 Raising Lazarus

:28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”

:28 the Teacherdidaskalos – a teacher; one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man

:28 secretlylathra – secretly; from lanthano – to be hidden, unawares

Apparently Jesus intended initially to talk to Mary privately, not in front of the people that had gathered.

:29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.

Some have suggested that the reason Mary didn’t go to Jesus earlier when Martha did was that she hadn’t heard that He had come.

It could be that it was hearing that Jesus was asking for her that moved her out of the house to meet Jesus.

The mourning custom:  For the first week the family stays at home and doesn’t leave the house.

:30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him.

:30 met Himhupantao – to go to meet, to meet; in military reference of a hostile meeting

We saw this word last week when Martha came out to meet Jesus.  There seems to be a hint of animosity in this word.

:31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”

:31 to weepklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; to weep audibly, cry as a child

The mourning tradition called for the first three days to be days of “weeping”, but this is now the fourth day.

:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

:32 if You had been here – Mary says almost the exact same words that her sister Martha did when she had met Jesus back in verse 21.

It is possible that this is something that the sisters had talked about over the previous couple of days.  They had wondered why Jesus had not showed up.

:33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

We’re going to see several different words for crying in this passage.

:33 weepingklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; to weep audibly, cry as a child

:33 groanedembrimaomai (“in” + “to snort with anger”) – to snort in anger like a horse; to speak sternly to someone.

Robertson:  to snort with anger like a horse;

It occurs in the LXX (Dan. 11:30) for violent displeasure.
(Da 11:30 NKJV) —30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. “So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.

The word is only used three other times outside this passage, and each time it speaks of a “stern warning”, like after the time that Jesus healed two blind men:

 (Mt 9:30 NKJV) … And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.”

After healing a leper:

(Mk 1:43 NKJV) And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once,

When Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus, she was criticized:

(Mk 14:5 NKJV) For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

Here Jesus wasn’t giving a stern warning to someone else, His “groaning” was what was going on inside of Him, in His “spirit”.

:33 troubledtarasso – to agitate, to cause one inward commotion, to disquiet

Why was Jesus upset?

Some say it was because of the unbelief of the people there.

There will be a measure of unbelief in both the sisters as well as the “comforters”.  They are all somewhat disappointed in Jesus showing up so late.

Some say it was because of the reality of the destruction of sin.

Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the garden of Eden, mankind has been paying the price of sin.
Sin leads to death.
Have you seen what sin can do to people?  Have you seen the destruction, the corruption, the death that results?  Been to the hospital lately?

Maybe He was just sympathizing with the obvious frustration that Martha and Mary felt.

Jesus is very much affected by what happens in our lives.

(Heb 4:15–16 NKJV) —15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
sympathizesumpatheo (“with” + “to suffer”) – to be affected with the same feeling as another, to sympathize with; to have compassion on

:34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

:35 Jesus wept.

This is the shortest verse in the English Bible.

For you trivia buffs:

This is the shortest verse in the English Bible

The Greek is: εδακρυσεν ο ιησους

The shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is:

(1 Th 5:16 NKJV) Rejoice always,
The Greek:  παντοτε χαιρετε

In the Old Testament, the winner is …

(1 Ch 1:25 NKJV) Eber, Peleg, Reu,
The Hebrew:  עֵ֥בֶר פֶּ֖לֶג רְעֽוּ׃

:35 weptdakruo – to weep, shed tears; to weep silently

It speaks of tears and quiet weeping in contrast to the loud wailing others were doing.

Jesus does express grief with the louder “wailing” (klaio), but not here.

(Lk 19:41 NKJV) Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,


God and emotions

I understand that there are churches that teach that God has no emotions, and that emotions are human and sinful.  That’s not what the Bible teaches.
God gets angry
(Dt 4:21 NKJV) Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan…
God angers slowly
(Ps 103:8 NKJV) The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
God has compassion.
(Ps 103:13 NAS) Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
God loves
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Some of you might say, “But isn’t that agape love, what some might call a non-emotional love of placing a person in high esteem?”

Yes, but there’s more…

God even “likes”
(Jn 5:20 NKJV) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things …

Phileo is the Greek word used here, a word that speaks of an emotional love, a “fondness”, a word that is sometimes translated “kiss”.

The Father is also “fond” (phileo) of the disciples:

(Jn 16:27 NKJV) for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me…

God knows joy
(Zep 3:17 KJV) The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
(Lk 15:7 NKJV) I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
Jesus knows strong emotions
(Mt 9:36 NKJV) But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

moved with compassionsplagchnizomai – to be moved as to one’s bowels, (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of the strongest emotions), to be moved with compassion

Jesus knows anger
When Jesus made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple …
(Jn 2:17 NKJV) Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

The word “zeal” speaks of passion, even jealousy.

Jesus knows sorrow.
(Is 53:3 NKJV) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
The Holy Spirit can be “grieved”.
(Eph 4:30 NKJV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
My point is that emotions are neither good nor bad.  It’s what you do with them that counts.  It’s learning to allow God to help you with your emotions that’s important.


He understands

Here the issue is that these two sisters have lost a loved one.
I have a hard time thinking that Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus is for anything other than compassion and grief.
Some of you have also gone through great loss.
He gets it.
He’s lost a loved one (John 11:35)

(Jn 11:35 NKJV) —35 Jesus wept.

Jesus loved Lazarus

He’s been hungry (Mat. 4:2)

(Mt 4:2 NKJV) —2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

Fasting for forty days.

He’s been betrayed. (John 13:21)

(Jn 13:21 NKJV) 21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

Judas was a close friend.

He’s been through divorce. (Jer. 3:8)

(Je 3:8 NKJV) —8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

God speaks of His broken relationship with Israel in terms of a divorce.

He’s been abandoned (Mark 15:34)

(Mk 15:34 NKJV) And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

On the cross, crying, “Why have You forsaken Me?”

He knows pain (Mat. 27:26)

(Mt 27:26 NKJV) Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Scourged.  The cross.

Do you think that no one understands you?  Think again.

:36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

:36 seehorao – to see with the eyes

You could “see” that Jesus loved Lazarus.

It was plain as the tears running down his eyes.

:36 He lovedphileo – to love; to approve of; to like; sanction; to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend

:37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”

They were aware of what Jesus had done six months earlier, opening the eyes of the man who had been born blind (John 9).

Just like Martha and Mary, these folks wonder why Jesus hadn’t helped Lazarus.

:38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

:38 groanedembrimaomai (“in” + “to snort with anger”) – to charge with earnest admonition, sternly to charge, threatened to enjoin

Same word used in vs. 33

Could it be that Jesus is groaning in frustration over what these people are saying?

:38 tombmnemeion – any visible object for preserving or recalling the memory of any person or thing; a memorial, monument, specifically, a sepulchral monument; a sepulchre, a tomb

:38 cavespelaion – a cave, den

There have been different burial customs over the years.

In the time of Jesus and Lazarus, one common form of burial was to place the body in a cave or tomb, cover with a rock to keep the animals out, and then let the body decompose.  When the flesh is completely decayed away, the bones would be collected and stored in an “ossuary”, a “bone box”.

It might have been a small cave, large enough for just one body.  It might have been part of a more complex burial comlex, where lots of bodies might be buried.

We visited one of these ancient burial sites in Israel, a place called “Beth She’arim”

Show video clip “Tombs”

:39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

:39 Take awayairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to bear away what has been raised, carry off

It’s possible that the stone was on an incline, needing to be rolled up the incline to open the door.

:39 there is a stenchozo – to give out an odor (either good or bad), to smell, emit a smell; KJV:  he stinketh

(keep in mind, the family that is mourning customarily didn’t bath or wear perfume for a whole week, they might have been a little stinky too)

:39 four days

Some have suggested (but I haven’t found the documentation yet) that the Jews believed that resurrection was possible as long as it occurred within three days of death.  The Old Testament examples of resurrection (through Elijah and Elisha) all took place within this supposed three day time frame.

These folks have suggested that this is one reason why Jesus waited for four days, to show that He had no such limits and that He could bring anyone back from the dead.

One website I found did have this:

From a website of “Jews for Judaism”:
Accompanied by divine messengers and conscious of its origins, the soul enters the womb at the time of conception (Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 60b). When people sleep, the soul ascends to heaven, returning renewed in the morning ( Genesis Rabbah 14:9). Although the soul protests its birth into the world, it also protests the body's death. It lingers near the body for three days, hoping that it will return to life (Tanhuma, Miqetz 4; Pequdei 3). After three days, the soul returns to God to await the time of resurrection (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 90b-91a). During the first twelve months after death, the soul remains in contact with the disintegrating body (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 152b-153a). After this, the souls of the righteous go to paradise ( gan eden, the Garden of Eden) and the souls of the wicked, to  purgatory ( gehinnom ). Yet, even there, the soul has a chance to be purified, with the exception of those guilty of heinous crime.
The problem is that I couldn’t track down what the reference “(Tanhuma, Miqetz 4; Pequdei 3)” was from, which seems to be the main quote.  The supposed quote from the Babylonian Talmud (“Sanhedrin 90b-91a”) has a vague reference to meat growing putrid after three days, but nothing as clear as this writer was claiming.
It’s possible that some Jews might have these beliefs, but I could not document it.

:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

:40 would believe… would see

The grammar might be better translated, “Did I not say to you that if you would perhaps believe, that you WILL see the glory of God?”

John didn’t record Jesus saying these exact words to Martha, but that doesn’t mean He didn’t say them.  The implication is that He DID say these things to her.

Earlier, Jesus had said to the disciples:
(Jn 11:4 NKJV) When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus has said to Martha:
(Jn 11:25–26 NKJV) —25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”


Faith leads to glory

What will you do when things don’t seem to be turning out the way you expected them to?
What happens when Jesus shows up too late?
How does it make you feel that Jesus heals the man born blind, but your brother ends up dead?
Will you become bitter?  Will you quit?
Or will you still trust God?  Faith leads to glory.
Note the size of their faith.
Martha, Mary, and their friends were a bit caught up in what Jesus didn’t do.  Martha was concerned about the stinking tomb.  But Jesus will still work.
It doesn’t take a huge amount of faith to see God work.

Some people have tried to take this verse and say that it must have been because of Martha and Mary’s “great faith” that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead.

I don’t see a huge amount of faith.

It only takes a little bit of faith to see God take a tragedy and make it glorious.
Habakkuk was the prophet who told us that if we want true “life”, it comes through faith, through putting our trust in God.  He wrote,
(Hab 2:4 NKJV) “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

Real life comes when you learn to trust in God.  Paul quotes Habakkuk several times to teach us that salvation, true life, comes when we put our trust in Christ.

What kind of times did Habakkuk live in?  What was life like when he wrote?
He wrote during the time just before the fall of the nation of Judah to the Babylonians.  He wrote during a time of corruption and evil.  He didn’t write during an easy time, but during a difficult one.
One of Habakkuk’s greatest examples of what faith is like comes at the end of his book:
(Hab 3:17–19 NKJV) —17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Faith isn’t pretending that you don’t have any problems.
Faith is trusting God when you don’t see the answer to your problems.
It’s this kind of faith that leads us to see the glory of God.

Sometimes the glory of God involves the incredibly miraculous and Lazarus is raised from the dead.

Sometimes the glory of God is what you have when you hold on to God while the crops are failing.

:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

:41 took awayairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to bear away what has been raised, carry off

:41 have heardakouo – to hear

Aorist tense, something happening in the past at a point of time.  Jesus has already prayed for this situation, and the Father heard Him.

When did Jesus pray?  Perhaps when He heard from the messengers that Lazarus was sick.

What’s interesting is that Jesus had prayed earlier, but now God is going to answer the prayer.

Not all prayers are answered immediately.  Some prayers take time.


Give it time

Sometimes we think that everything should be done here and now.  We think that if God is going to answer prayer, that it has to be RIGHT NOW.
In the movie “Force 10 from Navarone”, Harrison Ford and Robert Shaw play two allied commandoes who are have the job of blowing up a giant Nazi dam.  After all the trials and difficulties in the movie, they finally get to the dam, climb down into the depths inside the dam, and set the charges.  They think they are running too far behind schedule to set the timer for a long time, so they set the timer, expecting to die.  There’s an explosion … the dust settles, they’re still alive, and the dam doesn’t seem to be affected.  Their teammates on top of the dam are sad because it looked like they just spent an entire movie trying to survive, only to fail at their mission.  Down in the dam, Harrison and Robert a start walking down the tunnel but have to hide when a team of Nazi workmen come down the tunnel to investigate what made the “boom”.  Everybody stops when cracks start to appear in the walls, water begins to trickle in, and they all start running as fast as they can.  The cracks get bigger, the dam begins to fall apart, and eventually the dam collapses.
Play clip from “Force 10 from Navarone”
Sometimes it just takes time for things to work.  God knows how much time things take.  Give Him the chance to do things the way He wants them to be done.

:42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

:42 who are standing byperiistemi (“around” + “to stand”) – to place around one; to stand around

Jesus wants the people who are standing there to see what is about to happen.

Perhaps this is another reason why He waited until the fourth day to show up.  He wanted some of these people to be present when He raised Lazarus.

Elijah prayed a similar prayer when he challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel.  After they had spent the day calling out to their god Baal to send fire on their sacrifice, Elijah prayed a very simple prayer, including these words:

(1 Ki 18:37 NKJV) —37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
God responded by sending fire and consuming Elijah’s sacrifice.

:43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

:43 criedkraugazo – to cry out, cry aloud, to shout, to cry out to one

:43 loudmegas – great; used of intensity

:43 comedeuro – in urging and calling, here! come!

:43 forthexo – without, out of doors

Augustine:  If Jesus had not called Lazarus by name, all the dead would have come out of their graves. (I like that!)

:44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

:44 graveclotheskeiria – a band, either for bed-girth, or for tying up a corpse after it has been swathed in linen

:44 faceopsis – seeing, sight; face, countenance

:44 wrappedsoudarion – of Latin origin; a handkerchief; a cloth for wiping perspiration from the face and for cleaning the nose and also used in swathing the head of a corpse

:44 wrappedperideo (“around” + “to bind”) – to bind around, tie over

:44 bound … with graveclothes

Lazarus had been all wrapped up in linen cloth.  Perhaps he came hopping out of the tomb.  He might have looked something like “The Mummy”.

:44 Loose him


Lose the graveclothes

God is going to use Lazarus in a big way.
In John 12, just a few days from now, there will be a dinner for Jesus at Lazarus’ house.  The guest of honor is Jesus, but all eyes are on Lazarus, the man who had been dead and who was now alive.
The next day would be Palm Sunday.  John that tells us that the reason the crowds were so big and turned out to shout “Hosanna” to Jesus on Palm Sunday was because of what had happened to Lazarus:

(Jn 12:9 NKJV) Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.

The very people who had been there to witness Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead were telling everyone they knew what had happened.

(Jn 12:17–18 NKJV) —17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.

But before God uses Lazarus, he’s got to lose those graveclothes.
He is not going to be used as “the Mummy”, but as the “Resurrected Guy”, the guy with the new life.
The graveclothes are almost a picture of that “old life”; they are the kinds of things our life used to be about before we met Christ.
In a way, Lazarus is almost a picture of what happens to us when Jesus is in our lives. Paul wrote,
(Eph 2:1–8 NLT) —1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Sometimes this is a hard concept for me to grasp.  Spiritually, without Jesus, I was as good as dead because of my sin.  It’s kind of like the mafia boss saying to the man who betrayed him, “You’re dead to me”.  When we came to trust in Christ, God gave us the same resurrection life that rose Jesus from the dead.

He took the old clothes of our deadness and gave us new clothes of life.

The Beggar’s Rags
A beggar lived near the king’s palace. One day he saw a proclamation posted outside the palace gate. The king was giving a great dinner. Anyone dressed in royal garments was invited to the party. The beggar went on his way. He looked at the rags he was wearing and sighed. Surely only kings and their families wore royal robes, he thought. Slowly an idea crept into his mind. The audacity of it made him tremble. Would he dare? He made his way back to the palace. He approached the guard at the gate. “Please, sire, I would like to speak to the king.” “Wait here,” the guard replied. In a few minutes, he was back. “His majesty will see you,” he said, and led the beggar in. “You wish to see me?” asked the king. “Yes, your majesty. I want so much to attend the banquet, but I have no royal robes to wear. Please, sir, if I may be so bold, may I have one of your old garments so that I, too, may come to the banquet?” The beggar shook so hard that he could not see the faint smile that was on the king’s face. “You have been wise in coming to me,” the king said. He called to his son, the young prince. “Take this man to your room and array him in some of your clothes.” The prince did as he was told and soon the beggar was standing before a mirror, clothed in garments that he had never dared hope for. “You are now eligible to attend the king’s banquet tomorrow night,” said the prince. “But even more important, you will never need any other clothes. These garments will last forever.” The beggar dropped to his knees. “Oh, thank you,” he cried. But as he started to leave, he looked back at his pile of dirty rags on the floor. He hesitated. What if the prince was wrong? What if he would need his old clothes again? Quickly he gathered them up. The banquet was far greater than he had ever imagined, but he could not enjoy himself as he should. He had made a small bundle of his old rags and it kept falling off his lap. The food was passed quickly and the beggar missed some of the greatest delicacies. Time proved that the prince was right. The clothes lasted forever. Still the poor beggar grew fonder and fonder of his old rags. As time passed people seemed to forget the royal robes he was wearing. They saw only the little bundle of filthy rags that he clung to wherever he went. They even spoke of him as the old man with the rags. One day as he lay dying, the king visited him. The beggar saw the sad look on the king’s face when he looked at the small bundle of rags by the bed. Suddenly the beggar remembered the prince’s words and he realized that his bundle of rags had cost him a lifetime of true royalty. He wept bitterly at his folly. And the king wept with him.
Edited from More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright 1995 by Youth Specialties, Inc.
Those rags are a picture of the “old life”, the things we used to get caught up in that aren’t so good for us.  At some point you have to get rid of the rags.
When I was in eighth grade, I began my personal collection of Playboy magazines.  A fine stack of treasure for any young boy in puberty.  But as I began to grow as a Christian, I got sick of that siren’s call coming from the stack of magazines in my closet.  It was a horrible and wonderful day when I took that stack of magazines and threw them in the trash.  Part of me was screaming inside, “But they have such important articles in them!”  Throwing them away didn’t completely end my tendency to lust, but it sure took me a few steps further down the road with Jesus.
I find it interesting that Jesus doesn’t tell Lazarus to take his own graveclothes off, but He tells the people around Lazarus to get him out of the graveclothes.
You see a picture of what “fellowship” is all about.  We can help each other out of our graveclothes.

That means that you can’t do this Christian life all on your own.  You need godly people in your life, people who know how to untie knots.

You might find people frustrating and hard to get along with, but some of those people are the very ones who can reach that knot tied behind your back.