May 21, 2018
NO FURTHER NEED FOR RITUAL PURIFICATION
Over 100 purification pools or “mikvehs” have been discovered in the ruins surrounding the Temple Mount. The Jewish pilgrims who came from all over the Roman Empire for Passover would arrive early to bathe in one of these mikvehs, cleansing themselves and putting on clean clothes before entering the Temple. Yet, the Passover week that John wrote of would change everything. For by the end of that week, Jesus would offer His blood for the purification of sin to all those who would believe.
As we read in the book of Hebrews, “Dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19-22).
There is no further need of ritual cleansing. Jesus is our spiritual mikveh.
May 20, 2018
PUT OFF THE OLD GRAVECLOTHES!
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He instructed his family and friends to help him out of his graveclothes. Surely the clothes must have smelled of death just as Martha had warned, for Lazarus had been dead four days. Yet, the man Lazarus was raised to life by the call of Jesus. A new man needs new clothes.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Eph. 4:21-22, 24).
When we are born again, we must put off the old graveclothes of our former lives and put on the new clothes of the new nature. This is an action taken in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, just as Lazarus needed help to get out of his graveclothes, so we need the community of believers to help us with ours. After all, isn’t it our family and friends that let us know when we stink?
So, get out of those stinky graveclothes and clothe yourselves in Christ’s clothes of righteousness.
May 20, 2015
The One who had said, “Let there be light,” now entered into His fallen creation, speaking resurrection life to those dead in their sins. He called to “Lazarus” specifically because otherwise every dead body on planet earth would have burst forth from the grave at His command, “Come forth!” This One speaking was none other than the Word of God made flesh. The same Word that was in the beginning with God and was God. The same Word that brought all things into being, now commanded Lazarus to rise. Some day, the Word will return with the sound of a trumpet, saying, “Arise, My love!” And the dead in Christ shall rise and those living will be changed. Do you believe this?
May 20, 2014
The shortest verse in the Bible is one of the most revealing. Did Jesus cry because Lazarus was dead? No. He knew he was about to raise him from the grave. I think he cried because Mary cried. He was sympathetic to her loss and grief. But mainly, I think he cried because he hated death. As the Life, death was anathema to his very being. He was so angry about the death that man’s sin had wrought that a sound like a snorting horse escaped his lips and tears fell down his cheeks. As he angrily approached Lazarus’ tomb, he commanded them to “roll the stone away!” Life said to Death, “Come forth!” And Lazarus was raised up and walked out of the tomb. Oh the depth of Christ’s passion for us! Oh the great love he has that he would take our death, so that we could receive his eternal Life.