The Master called down into the darkness of the tomb with a loud cry, “Lazar! Come out!” His shout into the darkness recalls his earlier words: “Amen, amen, I say to you, that an hour will come and is now here in which the dead will hear the voice of the son of God, and those who hear will surely live” (John 5:25).
Lazarus stepped forth still bound in his tachrichin (תכריכין), the linen wrappings in which the Jewish people bury the dead to prepare them for the resurrection. In Jewish burial practice, the simple linen garments are tied around the dead with special ceremonial knots. A covering veils the face of the deceased.
In those days, they placed a strip of linen on the corpse, wide and long enough to completely envelop it. The feet were placed at one end of the cloth and then they drew the cloth over the head to the feet. They bound the cloth at the angles, and they secured the arms to the body with linen strips.
The gospel’s description of Lazarus’ burial garments (tachrichin) is consistent with Jewish burial garments to this day. The Gospel of John later describes the tachrichin of the Master in identical language, but in that case, the Master left His burial garments behind, abandoned in the tomb.
So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:40)
And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there. (John 20:6)
The grave clothes illustrate the difference between the resurrection of Lazarus (resuscitation) and the resurrection of Yeshua (transformation). Though Lazarus returned from the dead, he remained clothed with a mortal body. He was destined to die again. Yeshua, however, left mortality behind in the tomb, much as He left behind His burial garments.
The Master instructed the onlookers to release the revived man from his burial garments and let him go. Yeshua also releases us from our mortal bodies and offers us a transformation. “Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Yeshua the Messiah our Master!” (Romans 7:24-25). An hour will come when the dead will hear His voice and rise.