Take away the stone
John 11:39 -
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.
Jesus had bought many back to life after they had died but yet we have this miracle which had created quite a stir during the times of Jesus. Most people think it was because Lazarus was bought back from death after a while (few days) unlike the others wherein they were bought back from death just after they had died.
What shook the people about this miracle was not about him coming back to life after a few days. It was the stone which caused the miracle to shake them. I do not mean literal tomb stone but what it symbolizes, let me explain.
Had Jesus bought him back to life Lazarus on the third day, people would have not been surprised and it would not have caused many to believe in Jesus like it did. It was after this miracle that Jesus went to Jericho and got a hero's welcome. We see Jesus intentionally waited for the four days to pass before He reaches the place Lazarus was buried. If we read the words of Lazarus' sister Mary when she greets Jesus as He reaches the place we will understand.
Mary had great faith in Jesus and knew for sure Jesus could easily bring Lazarus back to life even if he was death and therefore had sent for Him and waited. But when 4 days passed she had given up hope on Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life and that was the tomb stone which buried her faith.
Tradition or statutes which the Lord recommends us to follow are for spiritual children so as to build faith and not for mature sons. Manmade traditions are like tombstones which bury faith. Even God given traditions if done without understanding can have opposite effect. Paul says it is sin when traditions are done without faith or understanding.
The Jews who came out from Egypt and Babylon were yet following traditions of the Egyptians and pagans. The tomb in which the body of Lazarus was kept had a structure and design based on the understanding or belief of the Egyptians understanding of life after death. They believed that a soul of a person would cross the river of life after 4 days, if a person is to be bought back to life it had to be done within these 4 days else even God could not do anything. The Egyptians and even the Greek believed this and thus went to great extent to please the so called powers which transports the dead soul.
The tomb had 2 levels, the body was kept in the top level which was land level and embalmed for 3 days and on the 4 day it was moved to the lower level which was 1 floor below and had steps to go down. This belief of after life had engulfed the minds of those who called themselves Jews and also many of those who followed or believed in Jesus.
Jesus wanted to crush this belief therefore waited to reach the place only after 4 days. He did not move the stone or tell His disciples to do it, but instead made the people who had gather for the funeral ceremony to move the stone. He even made Lazarus to come out of the tomb by himself, right from the lower level climbing the steps in the dark with bands of cloth tied all round him.
A Christian is a spirit being living in a human body not a human being having a spirit. We may follow traditions in the start but as we grow in the Lord we need to stop traditions and walk in spirit and understanding. If we continue traditions then we become spiritually dead people, and to these people the Lord says 'take away the stone'.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, many of your sheep are put in tombs behind stones of traditions. They are been deceived that they are following You but are made to follow man and vanity. They are deceived to become spiritually dead and kept far from knowing You and led to slaughter. Lord, we pray for your sheep and command every tombstone to be moved and let your people experience Resurrection Power and be saved...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
Leviticus 10:11 - And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Romans 14:23b - for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Colossians 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
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