Summary: How to apply the raising of Lazarus.
What Is Your Stone?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a
stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto
him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest
see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted
up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people, which stand by I,
said it that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face
was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. KJV
Most folks find the greatest thing about this passage is Jesus raising the dead. Some say it is the lesson of faith that was taught. Believe and the impossible will happen or do not judge by appearances. Some see the love of Jesus for Lazarus and that He wept for him as the most important part of this event. The assurance that the Father hears the Son is a great lesson. While I am there for those who do not believe in the Trinity, I reckon Jesus was talking to Himself here like a schizophrenic or something. Therefore, we have a good example of the Godhead in action here as well. While all these things are indeed glorious, I think that there is something missed here that is as equally glorious and needful.
Maybe it is just me, but have you ever asked yourself why Jesus had them roll away the stone? I mean He could have vaporized it. He could have had it land in the Temple courtyard or in the High Priest’s backyard. He could have spun it in the air so fast that it turned to sand and fell into the form of a statue or something. Why have the people roll it away? It is simple. They could do it. They could not raise the dead, but they could roll away the stone.
I think this is a valuable lesson in God’s interaction with us. He never asks us to do what we cannot do unless He is giving us power through the Spirit to do it. However, He will not do what we can do for ourselves. We feed babies until they can take a bottle and then we take the bottle when they can handle utensils. As they can do more for themselves, we do less for them. That is a natural part of growth and development.
In our spiritual growth, we go through the same process. When we are first saved, God just does all kinds of things in our lives that require no effort on our part at all. We are literally borne about by the Spirit like newborn babes. Then He starts backing that off and allows us to encounter situations where we need to make choices or seek His Word for wisdom. We actually have to think and do. We get into problems where we have to learn where we are responsible for the solution and where He is responsible.