Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, was dead. When He came to the place where Lazarus’ family was, some of the onlookers began to talk: "Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" (John 11:37)
The scripture continues. "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone, " He said. "But, Lord, " said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." (John 11:38,39)
Jesus’ instructions were clear. "Take away the stone." He could have called for Lazarus to come to life again and push the stone away from the inside of the tomb. Certainly, He could have empowered Lazarus with the strength to do it. He was also wrapped in grave cloths. Jesus could have had all those strips of linen to supernaturally fall to the ground; yet He did neither of these. Simply, His instructions were to those watching. Once the stone had been removed, Jesus prayed. Then, He commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb, alive once more.
Martha had been hesitant to uncover the source of her sorrow–the dead body of her beloved brother. She questioned Jesus’s instructions: "But, Lord…." Jesus was going straight to the area of need. He was also involving those near to the situation to participate in the miraculous. Still, we see the hesitancy—"But, Lord…"
Do we ever respond to God’s work in our lives with questions of doubt? Do we respond to His instructions with, "But, Lord…." ? He knows what He is going to do and how He is going to do it. Jesus replies to Martha in verse 40. "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" This does not sound like condemnation of unbelief. Rather, it seems a clear reminder to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord.
Has Jesus come to help you today? Is there a cover over your heart that needs to be obediently removed so that healing can take place?
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."