Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, January 8, 2016
Dead, rotting, and smelly – that’s what people expected when Jesus opened Lazarus’ tomb. This story provides one of the most dramatic miraculous signs Jesus performed while He was here on Earth (John 11). It foreshadowed His last and most important miracle – resurrecting Himself from the dead, without which our faith has no substance. When Jesus takes a rock and rolls it, expect a life-changing experience.
By the time Jesus returned to Bethany from His trip in the trans-Jordan region, Lazarus was four days dead and buried. In spite of Martha and Mary’s fervent message warning Jesus of their brother’s illness while he was still alive, Jesus postponed His return intentionally. The sisters were despondent over Jesus’s tardiness, knowing He could have healed Lazarus’s illness. But Jesus is never late; He is always almost late. In other words, His timing is always perfect.
All that separated the living from Lazarus’s dead body was a large gravestone, which had been rolled into place upon his interment. To the Jews, this lithic mass served as both a memorial to the dead and a memento to the living, reminding them of the death behind it. It was literally a tombstone. Once rolled into place, however, it was not intended to move. Thus, when Jesus commanded, “Take away the stone.”, the crowd of mourners accompanying Martha and Mary recoiled in horror (John 11:39). As the men began to prepare for rolling the stone away from the grave, we can imagine how eyes must have been rolling even before the stone began its retreat.
Imaginations were boggled – why would Jesus remove this stone? The populace anticipated a most unpleasant and disturbing experience when the grave opened, but Jesus demonstrated that behind the stone was life and life abundant. Thus, He wanted all who were there to witness the living body that would exit the tomb of death. He knew that by rolling the stone He would not only raise a soul to physical life, but He could demonstrate how souls can be raised in their spiritual lives.
Martha was perplexed, as were most of the onlookers. She simply did not understand the events unfolding. In her anxiety, she objected to the LORD’s actions and questioned His opening of the grave. She argued with her LORD about the merits of opening the tomb, which she feared would release an unpleasant odor and embarrass the memory of her brother. Jesus knew better – He had to remove the stone so Lazarus could be set free, allowing Jesus to demonstrate God’s power to resurrect from the dead.
Do you ever argue with Jesus about rolling stones away from the death of the sin in your life? Is there a stone keeping you buried in sin and spiritual death? Is there a stone keeping a loved one entombed? Is there something in your life you think has been dead too long to be raised by Jesus into glorious newness? If so, you are thinking like Martha, who argued with her LORD and delayed the incredible joy and peace He can bring.
What stone is blocking the way to your joy and peace? Is it unforgiveness? Hypocrisy? Rivalry? Jealousy? Unkindness? Addiction? Favoritism? Laziness? A critical spirit? Prejudice? Lack of faith? Rebellion? Failure to pray? The possibilities are endless. We heap piles of stones around our sin, all the time mourning our condition. Yet as Jesus showed Martha, He is ready to perform miracles in our lives if we just allow Him to roll the stones away from our sin.
It is normal for Jesus to raise us from spiritual death to spiritual life, but we have to take the first step by recommitting to Him so He can roll the stones away. It is not normal to argue with Jesus about rolling stones away from the graves, it is normal to be obedient and to follow His commands. Don’t delay the joy Jesus wants to bless you with by arguing with Him as Martha did. Get busy and start rolling stones today, and be prepared for the new life that only Jesus Christ can bring forth from the grave.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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