“Jesus said, ‘Remove the stone!’…So they removed the stone…When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings…Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him and let him go.’ ” — John 11:39-44
Forgive my being repetitive, I believe I have shared these verses before in these devotional thoughts. I want to complete the thought from yesterday. Get the scene fixed in your mind—Jesus standing in front of a cave, a tomb. A large stone serves as a door and blocks the way from casual passage. He knows what He is about to do. He is going to use the “authority of His Word” to call forth a dead person back to life. Jesus doesn’t need anything else. The Bible says that Jesus was in the beginning with God (before He came to the earth, born of the virgin Mary). The Bible also says that everything created was made through Him and for Him. So, in this moment, He chose to “speak” Lazarus out of death, into life. The power and the authority of the Word of God. Paul taught in Romans 1:16 that the gospel IS “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Now, here stands Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, standing at the tomb of a dead man, with a stone, a barrier between Himself and dead Lazarus. Paul, again, said in Ephesians 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, were made alive together with Christ.” Don’t miss this—Jesus was dramatically portraying something much larger than the immediate moment here. He was providing us a “snapshot” of evangelism. Let’s complete the scene now. Lazarus is dead on one side of the stone. Jesus and the power of His Word stands on the other side. Before speaking the Word, Jesus turns to His followers who were gathered there at the tomb. “Remove the stone,” He commands His disciples. In obedience to His command they put their hands to the stone. ((“CLICK!”)) SNAPSHOT. That’s the Great Commission of Jesus to His disciples. Today, you were once dead in your sins, but now you have been made alive together in Christ. Today, there remain people within our reach who remain trapped in spiritual death. Jesus stands at the entrance, willing to call them out of death and into life. And, He allows us to take an active part in His wonderful, saving work. He accomplishes this work by the power and authority of His Word. Yet, He commands us today, “Put Your Hands to the Stone.” Next time, our focus will be upon the newly raised Lazarus, still “bound hand and foot.” The story’s not over quite yet. With him or with us.