Lazarus had been dead four days. His sister asserted, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Others complained about Jesus’ delay also. Lazarus had been clothed for burial and lain in the tomb with a stone at the entrance to seal it securely. There was nothing they could do but bear the grief and comfort each other as they moved on with life. Or was there?
Several weeks ago I was on a boat with six other men on a lake in Georgia. It was simply meant to be a time of kindred spirits getting together to say good-bye to a special brother and tell the hoo’ah stories guys tend to discuss. Then as dusk arrived over the quiet waters, discussion moved to the culture and the failure of senior authorities all around us. The question arose, “What can we do?”
In the midst of hopelessness at Lazarus’ tomb that day, Jesus gave a strange command: “Take away the stone.” Moving a stone could not fix the problem; Lazarus would still be fully dead. Jesus followed with another command, “Lazarus, come out.” And Lazarus did. Those people couldn’t revive Lazarus, but they could move the stone. In the simple human act of rolling away the stone, they partnered with Jesus in His life-giving act.
Only divine power can release the death grip that holds so many people in bondage. Christ has chosen to wield His power through our obedience in the opportunities before us. Share a message of hope with someone experiencing discouragement–take away the stone. Mentor another who is experiencing new challenges–take away the stone. Stand strong on principle when others are cowering; bring others together to share truth; attend to the development of your own character; model and set a standard of integrity and excellence among subordinates and authorities alike–take away the stone.
No, we cannot redeem this fallen world and its deathly power on our own, but the One who can has asked us to partner in His work with what we can do. He simply asks us to “take away the stone.” —Taken from John 11:1-44