J.C. Ryle: It was doubtless as easy for Him to command the stone to roll away untouched as to call a dead body from the tomb.


John 11:38-41 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  So they took away the stone.

J.C.Ryle comments:

lazarus Now why did our Lord say this? It was doubtless as easy for Him to command the stone to roll away untouched as 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 up this in our memories. It involves a point of great importance. 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 you away the stone” is the daily command which He gives us. Let us beware that we do not stand still in idleness, under the pretense of humility. Let us daily try to do what we can, and in the trying Christ will meet us and grant His blessing.

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