Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. -Mark 16:2-4
I love these verses! But not merely because it is the beginning of the discovery of the greatest news in the world, that Jesus has risen from the dead. I love these verses because they are counter-intuitive to the way most of us operate, but they reveal a key truth regarding the way God works.
Notice, that the women did not just sit around in their homes wondering how they would roll the stone away to do what they knew they were supposed to do. It was as they were moving towards the tomb that they asked this question. And it was only when they arrived to do what they were supposed to do (and looked up!) that they realized their problem had already been taken care of. The stone they thought was in their way, turned out to not be in the way at all; God had already taken care of removing it or rolling it back! And so, these women were confronted with the beautiful truth that Jesus is not dead but alive!
Many of us do nothing for God because of “stones” that exist in our mind. There are obstacles that hold us back from even moving towards those situations. We feel called to serve but we see no way that we can do it, so we don’t even attempt. And because we don’t attempt, we never witness the resurrection power and reality of our Living Savior!
There is a “secret” spiritual truth in the kingdom of God. It’s simply this: when we move, God moves. But when we sit back and wait, we miss out on the miraculous power of God. Consider these examples:
The story in 2 Kings chapter 7 is one of my favorite stories. The setting is grim. The situation is hopeless by human standards. The people of Samaria have been besieged by the enemy. There is famine in the city. Things are so bad that parents are actually eating their own children. However, a promise is made that sounds incredible and impossible: In one days time this whole situation would change.
You know how that actually happened and came about? The situation changed in one day, because beginning in verse three we are told that four men with leprosy (social outcasts of no seeming significance or value) came to a revelation: “Why stay here until we die? If we say, We’ll go into the city-the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
Not real promising odds, but notice they came to the conclusion that by doing nothing one thing was certain: they would die. But if they made a move, there was a slight chance they might live. They decided to make a move. And you know what happened? Just imagine this scene unfolding in a movie:
“At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army…“
Four seemingly insignificant and irrelevant men with leprosy put to flight an entire army simply because they decided to make a move! The “stone” was rolled away! When they moved; God moved. A famine was ended and lives were saved because of the action of these four men with leprosy.
What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making? What mountains seem insurmountable? What very large stones are beyond your strength to roll away?
The resurrection of Jesus reminds us that we serve a Living, Risen and Powerful Savior! We may be weak, but He is strong. He is able to roll the stone away. He is able to make a way where there seems to be no way. He is able to part rivers, end famines and deliver entire cities. He can move the mountains.
But you…you must make a move. You must step into the Jordan river before it is parted. You must march around Jericho. You must draw ordinary water out of a jar and begin taking it to the master of the banquet…before it turns into exquisite wine! You must be willing to risk looking like a fool in doing whatever God is calling you to do even if (or especially) when you have no idea how you are going to do it!
What does that look like for you right now? Is it going on a missions trip even though you don’t have the funds for it and don’t know where it might come from? Is it stepping out in faith to leave your current job to follow God’s leading? Is it moving to a new state or country? Is it starting a business you have always dreamed of? is it giving beyond your current means? Is it walking across the street to share the Gospel with your neighbor, not knowing how they will react or what exactly to say?
Stones don’t get rolled away as you sit and ponder. Stones are moved when you begin to move!
So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. -Joshua 3:14-17