"Take ye away the stone"

The marvelous story of the raising of Lazarus as recorded in John's Gospel furnishes to the student of Christian Science much food for thought as to Jesus' purpose and method. Close study of this incident, taken in conjunction with other similar features of his ministry, may aid greatly in arriving at the deeper meanings of the Master's words and works. About to raise Lazarus from the belief of death. Jesus directed the Jews assembled at the tomb of their friend, "Take ye away the stone;" and when they had done so, he commanded, "Lazarus, come forth," and Lazarus came forth from the sepulcher, in response to the Master's command.

Assuredly, he who could bring forth Lazarus from the grave could move the stone which blocked the mouth of the sepulcher; yet it seems he desired those about him to have some part in the restoration of their friend, and the removal of the stone was within the possibility of their accomplishment. They could not raise the dead, but they could aid in the demonstration. This trend of the Master's thought finds parallel in other incidents of his career. "Stretch forth thy hand," was his word of command to the man seeking restoration of a withered member. He desired, it appears, that the seeker should have some part in bringing about the release which he sought. "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," are familiar admonitions of the Nazarene, providing for the putting forth of some effort on the part of the seeker for spiritual blessings.

Shall we not conclude that the lesson which Jesus wished to convey was that divine bounty does not come into our experience except in response to some effort of our own? We must have part in the demonstration of God's presence and power to meet our need. We must do our share in taking away the stone which seems to bar us from the realization of the spiritual freedom which belongs to us as the children of the Most High. We must signify our desire for release by manifesting our readiness to receive the Christ, Truth. The door of consciousness must be opened to admit the Christ, always waiting to gain entrance, to come in and sup with us upon invitation. But the signal of willingness must be given. The door must be opened from within. We must be ready to exchange material beliefs for spiritual truth, else the Christ would not find a gracious welcome. Where false beliefs are held, there the Christ finds no acceptance.

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"Faith, hope, charity"
September 18, 1926

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