Preparing For Your Miracle (John 11:38-40)
“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” He said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
As Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, something was happening within His Spirit. We are told that He was ‘deeply moved’. The same verse in the King James Bible speaks about how Jesus ‘groaned in Himself’. I believe that Jesus was praying in His Spirit, preparing the atmosphere and Himself for the mighty miracle which was to come. He was receiving the will of the Father. He was downloading instructions from Heaven. There is always a struggle between spirit and flesh, before Heaven breaks through in power, and a miracle is manifested in our lives. We too can be facilitators of the divine by praying the supernatural forth upon the earth. In His heart, the Lord had been preparing for this since He heard that Lazarus was sick. We saw in last week’s eWord that His heart was so moved when He met the sisters that he wept. Miracles are the outflow of the compassion of God, who weeps to see humanity suffer, and struggle futilely to make it on their own.
It is believed that a dead body needs only 2 days to completely putrefy, and after four days, Lazarus was clearly not in a desirable state, when Jesus asked that the stone across his tomb be removed. However, there was a miracle brewing! Jesus was about to bring a dead man to life, and Martha’s concern was the unsavory smell! There are great things God has in store for us – the mighty miracle and breakthrough we have been waiting for; but first, He asks us to “remove the stone”. Everything that stands in the way of our miracle has to be removed. Healing may often be hindered by the ‘stone’ of unforgiveness or bitterness while for a financial breakthrough, there may be a need to make good what we owe God (in terms of tithes and offerings), as well as what is owed to people in terms of wages etc. Sometimes it may be as simple as coming to God (and man) for forgiveness.
Martha was more concerned about the unpleasantness of exposing what had been covered up, when its removal would, in reality, clear the way for something awesome and miraculous God wanted to do. The stone stood in the way of the miracle, and the dead man could not be raised up until it was removed. The stone made everything look nice and shiny on the outside, while there was the smell of death and decay within. A wound often looks good when it is covered up with a band-aid, but may be actually festering pretty badly beneath.
There are issues that we prefer to cover up and live with, while all the while we are tolerating a level of inner pain, and hindering ourselves from knowing the fullness of the peace and joy God has for us. These issues may even manifest in terms of perennial and recurrent infirmities, insomnia, or various fears when they are not rooted out. Jesus says “Take away the stone”! The longer we leave dead old issues, the more unpleasant and painful they are to deal with. There may be areas of your life (past or present) which you are extra sensitive to, and may not like others addressing. These may be the places where you repeatedly experience hurt or rejection, and these are the very areas God is asking you to open, and allow Him to clear out. The odor may be less than fragrant, but Jesus is able to handle it! The longer you leave it, the worse it gets, and if these issues are not dealt with, they follow us wherever we go. I never realized what a lot of baggage I carried around with me, until some of the dearest relationships in my life began to fall apart, and God forced me into a place where I had no choice but to push back the stone and deal with a mess of pain that had been covered up for years! As I yielded to the cleansing, healing work of the Blessed Holy Spirit, the difference was miraculous and amazing, bringing healing from infirmity, restoration of relationships, freedom from stress, and awesome Jesus peace and joy! God wants to do the same for all His kids!
Friend, today is a good day to bring your life before the Master and ask Him to remove every hindrance that stands in the way of the fullest blessing He wants for you. It could be that you never realized how important it is to do this, but ask Him to help you to see what needs to move and be uprooted, and where you need His healing grace the most. There may be things you need to confess to Him, renounce, and receive forgiveness for. There may be issues you need to correct with friends or family, and put right in the sight of God. As you follow His guidance and instruction, you will experience a weight off your heart, and a sense of freedom and peace within.
Jesus said to Martha “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” Jesus was telling her to look beyond the barrier. If she focused on the unpleasant smell, or worried about how her friends would be impacted by the stone being taken away, she would never have seen the miracle she longed for. If she saw no further than the stone, then she would have received no more than the stone, which covered death behind it. In the world we see to believe; in the Kingdom, we believe to see! Let me encourage you today to see beyond what appears to be a dead end in your circumstances. Begin to dream beyond the boundaries of your situation. Begin to recognize the wonderful things God plans for you. There is nothing you cannot have, so long as you can believe for it! There is blessing beyond the barrier. There is treasure beyond your tribulation. There is a glory beyond, which God has already released for you; as you perceive it, believe it, and grasp it in your spirit and in your prayers, you will see it manifested in reality in your life. In fact, God has a dream for you to see fulfilled – seek it!
Jesus was asking Mary (as He is asking us today) to trust in Him and believe His Word, however difficult it may seem in the circumstances. He is asking us to trust Him to help us overcome whatever is exposed when the stone is pushed aside. Yes - there will be an unpleasant smell; and of course - there will be some pain from the past to deal with! But there is no problem that God and you together cannot handle! The old house has to be demolished before a beautiful new temple can be built, which reflects the artistry and color of the Architect! The glory of God is manifested when we believe! He is all about life, and He cannot work where there is death; the dead works of the past have to go! There is life and love and great blessing exploding into your future!
I pray that you will allow God the Holy Spirit to have free access into the hidden recesses of your heart; that you will surrender the past to Him, and permit the stones to be removed, so that inner healing can flow, and the pathway is opened for you to receive the glory and grace of God! Prepare for your miracle! God loves you and His promises for you are being fulfilled - He is doing a new thing in your life!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 31 May 2010