Unbind Him and Let Him Go
Today we celebrate All Saints’ Day. What does it mean to be a Saint. How do e define a saint? Is a saint a good person? Jesus said:
“Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. (Mark 10:18)
Perhaps we could say that a saint is by his very life a righteous person. What does God’s word have to say about this definition? Reading from the Psalms:
God looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one. (Psalm 53:2-3)
Perhaps a saint is someone who has performed a miracle. Does that qualify him for sainthood? Not according to Jesus. Reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ )Matthew 7:22-23)
Perhaps only God can define sainthood. Reading from Leviticus:
Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes, and observe them; I am the Lord; I sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7-8)
Could it ne that becoming a saint has more to do with God than us?
In today’s Gospel we read about Jesus raising of Lazarus from the dead:
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44)
Perhaps Lazarus is a metaphors for us. Are we not bound by this world and the things in this world. Jesus wants to unbind us and let us go. He, alone, has the power ti set us free,
Before he raised Lazarus, Jesus had this dialogue with his sister Martha:
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” (John 11:21-27)
Jesus has the power of the resurrection. He is the resurrection. Do we want to hold onto the world and the flesh? Or do we seek his deliverance?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the in Rome:
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
He went on to explain:
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit[g] is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 8:6-11)
Jesus told Martha: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Are we ready for the glory of God?
The psalmist wrote:
Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in. (Psalm 24:9)
Can we become saints? Perhaps Jesus is waiting for us to lift up our heads. Perhaps he is waiting on our heart’s desire. Perhaps he is waiting on our prayer request. Are we ready to be set free from the world and the flesh? Are we ready for his glory?