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Roll the Stone Away

In John 11:39, Jesus gave this command to those who were gathered around the tomb of Lazarus: “Remove the stone.” He was referring to the stone that covered the front of the tomb in which Lazarus had been buried for four days.

Martha knew what normally happens when you leave a dead body in a tomb for that many days—the body starts to emit an awful stench. So, she gives Jesus a lecture in mortuary science. “By now rigor mortis will have set in. The body will have begun to decay. And, there’s going to be a terrible smell if we roll that stone aside.”

In other words, Martha was suggesting that what Jesus requested was not practical. It didn’t make sense. It was, in fact, ridiculous.

It didn’t make sense. It was, in fact, ridiculous.

How often are we like Martha? We’ve been to school and we know a little about how things are supposed to work. We are tempted to remind God about the limits of reality. But Jesus isn’t concerned about the limitations. He simply gives us a command, and we have to make the choice to follow. To step out in faith and do as He asks . . . even when it might not make perfect sense. That is the nature of faith.


How often are we like Martha?

When we do, we’ll discover the power of the resurrection—a power that Jesus can breathe into every situation, no matter how seemingly hopeless. We will, as Martha and those gathered around Lazarus’ tomb, see the glory of the one who holds the keys to life and death.

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