Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because 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. And Jesus looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” (Jn 11: 38-45)
Our Lord does not actually need help, when it comes to “taking away the stone” from a tomb. Because, as G.K. Chesterton famously said, we have “a God who knew the way out of a grave.” But here Christ enlists the help of the people, allowing them to open the tomb, and indeed open their hearts, to faith in, and vision of, “the glory of God.” He also prays aloud to the Father, just “so that they may believe.” He then has the people “unbind” the resurrected Lazarus, further engaging them, involving them, in the mystery of bodily resurrection. He’s effectively inviting them to “touch” Lazarus, as He will later invite the disciples to “touch Him and see,” after His own resurrection (Lk 24: 39).
Today our Lord raises His friend, Lazarus, from the dead, introducing us to the mystery that is yet more fully to unfold, and to expand to all of us, in His own glorious resurrection. Let me hear His call to me today, to “take away the stone,” or any other obstacle in my heart, to the light and truth He wants to bring me. Let me “unbind” myself of any anxiety, despondency, or indifference, preparing to greet Him in faith, as He enters Jerusalem. “Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes, the King of Israel.”
Coffee with Sister Vassa