We find a comforting teaching about God’s sovereignty and our responsibility in Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead in John 11:38-44

38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” 43…[then] He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

J.C Ryle wrote of this event, 

“We read that He said to those around Him, when he came to the place of burial, ‘Take ye away the stone.’

Now, why did Jesus say this? Surely it was just as easy for Him to command the stone to roll away with no person touching it as it was to call a dead body from the tomb. But such was not His mode of proceeding. Here, as in other cases, He chose to give man something to do. Here, as elsewhere, He taught the great lesson that His almighty power was not meant to destroy man’s responsibility. Even when He was ready and willing to raise the dead, He would not have man stand by altogether idle. 

Let us treasure this: In doing spiritual good to others – in training up our children for heaven – in following after holiness in our own daily walk – in all these things it is undoubtedly true that we are weak and helpless. ‘Without Christ, we can do nothing.’ But still, we must remember that Christ expects us to do what we can. “Take ye away the stone” is the daily command which He gives us.” Let us do what we can, and for our effort, Christ will meet us and grant His blessing.”

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