Jesus gets down to business. He walks up to the cave where they have buried Lazarus, and tells them to take the stone away. So, here in chapter 11:38-44, the sisters have a choice to make. Jesus tells them to make some room for Him to work. Why didn’t He just move the stone? He could have. But He tells the people to move the stone. It’s up to the sisters, as Lazarus’ family. What He is doing is wrong, according to their religious beliefs. Lazarus has been properly prepared, and buried. For them to touch the grave is equal to touching the dead body. Doing that would disqualify them from the Temple for a long time, with a detailed process to cleanse themselves spiritually. Martha reminds Jesus that Lazarus has been gone for four days. He’s rotting. It’s gonna stink. Are you sure about this, Jesus?
But then Martha or Mary one, we’re not told, tells them to take away the stone. That’s some really cool faith. These women get it. Once again, the Bible turns culture on it’s head, showing that women were the ones of great faith in a time where women were considered objects to be owned. Jesus shows them as leaders, people who express incredible faith and are held up as examples.
Jesus’ prayer is one for show. He admits it. He has already asked for God to raise Lazarus, and has His answer. The prayer here is merely for the benefit of the people standing there. Then He calls out loudly for Lazarus to come out. Again, why? He didn’t need to. Lazarus wasn’t far away. I think it’s a show of power, of authority.
When he comes out, Jesus merely responds with “unwrap him and let him go.” I’m sure the people there were screaming, terrified. He reminds them that it’s Lazarus, and he needs help. He is always in control.
I wonder where I have a stone blocking Jesus’ plans and dreams? I wonder what I have that Jesus is looking at me, telling me to move it? I know often I complain to Him that His plans are going to cause a stink if I do it. His reply is that if I want to see the glory of God, I’ll have to be willing to stink a little.
Roll away the rock. I’m ready.