Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
A cave with a stone covering the entrance was often the usual form of burial at that time; a cave or a hollowed out enclosure often designed to form a burial site for a family.
However, with what we know about Jesus’ death and resurrection we cannot help but equate the two events, with this as a foreshadowing of that momentous event.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
With Lazarus already dead for four days — and in the hot middle-eastern climate — there would inevitably have been the dreadful smell of corruption from the dead body.
Jesus is unconcerned about this. Indeed, what we know of Him, He was very grounded in reality, if we can put it that way; there is never a suggestion at any time, that Jesus was anything other than certain of the deepest reality and thus the fundamental truth in everything He did then — and does now through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.
And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
Taking the stone away from the tomb is shining light into a dark place; it is revelation and it is life triumphing over death.
Jesus speaks aloud so that those around Him can hear His prayer and fully understand what is happening and the miracle that is occurring — that the awesome power of a Creator God is focussing on one man, turning time back on itself and restoring life where there was none.
Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
[John 11:38-44 NKJV]
After the long lead up to this event there is almost an anticlimax in these words; a matter-of -fact statement, no more than that. Their import has to be allowed to sink in to our minds. Indeed, from the Divine perspective, this is a daily occurrence — all in a day’s work. Jesus’ story now swiftly moves on.
AWESOME GOD lyrics
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom power and love
Our God is an awesome God.
Peace: Life in the Spirit
“If all God can do for me is to destroy the unity I once had, make me a divided personality, give me light that makes me morally insane with longing to do what I cannot do, I would rather be without His salvation, rather remain happy and peaceful without Him.”
But if this experience is only a stage toward a life of peace and union with God, it is a different matter.
[from ‘Biblical Ethics’]