Today, I want to share a side of a picture that we may or may not have considered. I want to share with you the two sides of the stone concerning the death of Lazarus.
We have the benefit that we can read the whole story from beginning to end, and thus have the complete picture. We don’t have to walk through the time loop that the people who were there had to do. So, let us just imagine for a moment what it might have been like for you and me to be in their shoes.
Jesus is doing what He does best and is preaching, when word comes to Him that the one whom He loves is sick. Now, your and my reaction of thought would probably have been the one that Mary and Martha had – that Jesus would stop what He was doing and come to the need of His friend. In our eyes, that would have meant that Jesus should come right now … our timing because our situation was at hand. We often think like that; not that it is totally wrong in itself, because this demand on others whom we trust comes through love and friendship.
However, Jesus saw a far greater need, and that was to show the people that Faith is a walk of Trust and not only an immediate response to our way of thinking or level of Faith.
So let’s move on with the story; Jesus’ response is to stay doing what He was doing for two more days! Unbelievable – if one of our friends whom we loved did this to us, I am sure that our disappointment would be great, and we would question the commitment of our friend.
So now, Jesus finally arrives at the tomb having told His disciples that Lazarus is dead and that He is going to raise him back to life. This is where we see what happens at the two sides of the stone.
On the one side of the stone covering the grave is dead Lazarus. On the other side are Jesus and the mourners. Let’s look at this for a moment.
The side of the stone where Lazarus is – what is it like? Well allow me a little liberty. The side that faces Lazarus is blocking out the light, so it is dark; it has blocked out the air and, as he has been in there four days, there is a smell. There is no life, no movement – just a body wrapped in grave clothes. This body is not aware of anything of his surroundings as he is dead. Dead means dead – there are no levels of deadness; you are not a little bit dead and then a bit more – when you’re dead you cease to move and breathe. You no longer progress in natural life, just the opposite is true, you begin to decline. First, no heartbeat; then no breath, then no movement and eventually, you begin to rot and decay. The muscles waste away and the flesh begins to smell. Not a pretty sight or smell! Moreover, you are unaware of who is standing on the other side of the stone crying for you! This is the condition of Lazarus.
Read more about the situation on the opposite side of the stone, where Jesus is, in part 2 next week!