Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, replied, “Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell, because he has been buried four days.”
[John 11:39 NET]
We find in all our Lord’s life, an economy of miracle. He never put forth supernatural power, unless it was necessary. Could not Jesus have taken away the stone himself? Certainly he could. The power that could call the dead to life, could easily have lifted back the piece of rock from the door of the tomb. But there is always something left for human hands to do.
God honors us by making us co-workers with himself, both in providence and grace. He feeds us–but ordinarily we must toil to earn and gather our own food. He saves people’s souls; but he uses men to speak the message, and then to help in winning the lost. He makes his work dependent, too, upon our fidelity in doing our part. He still wants us to take away the stones that shut our friends in their prison.
This command also exercised the faith of the friends. If they had refused to do what he bade them do, the miracle could not have been wrought. “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Had not the unbelief given away to faith, Lazarus would not have been raised. May it not be that many times, in our own days, and in the experiences of our own lives, great works of divine power which Christ stands ready to perform, are not wrought because we do not believe?