Rolling Stones: It’s a Mission

“Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” “

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  The whole story captures my imagination! The intentionality of Jesus as he just let Lazarus die seems callous at first glance, but in reality, it was the greatest act of love He could display for Lazarus and his sisters.  This whole account elevates our understanding of God’s purpose in suffering and our need to part of His glory.  We need his glory more than our health and prosperity; we need His glory more than our very lives, and Jesus has gone to the greatest length to give it to us!  His glory is the greatest source of joy!

By the time Jesus got to the tomb of Lazarus, he had been dead for 4 days.  NOBODY wants to smell that!  But isn’t that what sin does to us?  We are all either dead in our sin, or we have been raised to life out of the ultimate putrid stink of death by Jesus.

Standing at the tomb, Jesus commands the mourners to move the stone away from the tomb of Lazarus.  (I can only imagine in his mind that he was thinking about how he would soon move his own stone and rise from the dead.)  Jesus could have spoken to that big rock that he had spoken into existence and turned it to gravel with a word, but he did not!  He spoke to the people standing there to risk getting “dirty” and join him.  

What is not readily known by us is that Jewish laws of ceremonial cleanliness forbade coming within 6 feet of a tomb. In their mind, Jesus was asking them to “defile themselves” and make them incapable of worship.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Jesus was giving them the opportunity to be agents of God’s glory; he was asking them to join him in the miraculous work of Grace!  Jesus was about to do what only He could do…He was going to give Lazarus life.  In his love, He called those around to join him by removing the obstacle that would keep Lazarus from getting out of the tomb once he was alive again.

I expect that some of those standing near the tomb of Lazarus refused to help roll that massive stone away from the tomb.  Those who did help would never be the same; they rejoiced in the resurrection in ways the others would not be able!  You and I get to be part of the ministry of rolling stones away from the tombs of our spiritually dead friends, family, and neighbors.  We get to step up close by prayer and persistence to the place where others refuse and watch Jesus reveal his glory for the salvation of many, and our joy!

Go “roll some stones” this week by serving another in prayerful expectation of the miracle of Jesus in their life!

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