Today we will finish the Stones series. In light of Easter, we’ll look at three events that led up to Jesus’ resurrection. To summarize these events in one sentence: God is with us in every season of life.
The Stone of Lazarus: God is with us in the Hurtful Times
The two sisters of Lazarus had sent for Jesus because their brother was sick. Jesus delayed his coming and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally got to them, both Mary and Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died” (Jn. 11:21, 32). Mary and Martha were disappointed. You may be disappointed or frustrated because God did not come through the way you wanted. His ways are not our ways. We often want God to respond immediately but His timing is not our timing. Maybe you are hurt at God or others. We can trust God when He delays. When Jesus saw all the people crying and mourning for Lazarus, we read, “Jesus wept” (Jn. 11:35). It is the shortest yet one of the most profound verses in the Bible. Jesus, in His humanity, hurts with those who hurt. He weeps with those who weep. When Jesus tells them to remove the stone, Martha reminded Him that there would be a stench because Lazarus had been dead four days. “Jesus said to her, ‘Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” (Jn. 11”40). Don’t let the natural keep you from seeing the supernatural. Faith is not about human reasoning but divine revelation. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead! What hurt are you grieving over? What is dying or dead in your life? In His deity, He can bring dead things to life! God requires action and faith. They had to roll away the stone and remove the graveclothes. God will not do what you can do. When you do what you can do, then God will do what you cannot do. He can work in a way no one else can work. Are you weeping today? Jesus weeps with you. Are you bound today? Jesus is calling your name and wants to set you free. Let the stone of Lazarus speak to you.
The Stone of Hosanna: God is with us in the Happy Times
Not long after Jesus raised Lazarus, Jesus headed for Jerusalem. He was at the Mount of Olives and sent two of His disciples ahead to bring Him a colt. Matthew 21:4 says, “This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled.” Jesus had never seen the donkey/colt but he knew it was there. Jesus knows every detail of our lives. We can trust Him! This event was prophesied more than 400 years before. The Bible is accurate! As Jesus rode the donkey, “…those who followed shouted: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Mt. 21:9). Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke the disciples (Lk. 19:39), but Jesus responded, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out” (Lk. 19:40). The Pharisees were religious people who did not know God but pointed out what they felt others were doing wrong. The others were not going to let a rock take their place! In John 4, we read that God is looking for worshippers. You love someone in their love language, the way they like to be loved. God wrote a whole book telling us what He likes: clapping, shouting, kneeling, singing, sitting, standing, dancing, hand raising. He wants to be loved in every way! There is no pain like death. Because of Easter, when you go to the cemetery to bury your loved one, you know that’s not the end. Think of all that Jesus as done for us. We are forgiven, saved, healed, delivered, and headed for a home in heaven! Remember where you came from! We were in bondage to sin, but Jesus set us free! We have a reason to celebrate. The same Jesus rode on the donkey, is in our midst! Will you worship Him or will the stones take your place? Let the stone of Hosanna speak to you!
The Stone of Jesus: God is with us in the Hard Times
The last “stone” story we will look at is the stone of Jesus. When the Sabbath was over and the ladies went to anoint Jesus’ body, they asked, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” (Mk. 16:3). Then, they saw the stone had been rolled away! An angel was there who told them that Jesus had risen! Then he said, “…go, tell his disciples and Peter….” (Mk. 16:7). Peter thought Jesus was done with him! Remember, he denied the Lord three times. Don’t miss this fact that God chose to reveal His resurrection first to these women, and then commissioned them to go tell the disciples AND Peter. The stone was an obstacle. Stones come in different shapes and sizes: physical, mental, emotional, financial. They did not let the stone stop them. When they got there the stone had been rolled away! What they were worried about was not even an issue! For every stone there is a Scripture. For every problem there is a promise. Jesus is alive! He is still rolling stones away! What is the obstacle, difficulty, or impossibility that you are facing? The women not only found the stone was rolled away, but that Jesus was alive. Maybe you are only focused on how you are going to move the stone. Jesus Himself is alive and He will not only move the stone, but he wants to give you life! Are you in a hard season? God is in the business of rolling stones away! Do you need life? Let the stone of Jesus speak to you.