Rolling the Stone Away

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 85


Rolling the stone away podcast

Lazarus is dead I mean Lazarus is four days dead. That’s really dead and yet Jesus comes to them and says roll that stone away and open that tomb. but if you were there if he was saying that to you, what would you have done knowing that Lazarus probably stunk pretty bad by now. That’s the point of this podcast.

I’m Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations Hope Healing and freedom podcast I want to talk about the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I don’t want to use it in a little bit different way and really bring some things out. Today’s verse is John 11:39 where Jesus said “remove that stone” roll that stone away. 

You know when RTF tries to get into a new church one of the things that we encourage the senior pastor with is would you consider sending somebody from your church to receive RTF ministry because we know that once somebody receives RTF ministry and their life is radically changed, they’re going to go back and tell everybody about this ministry that they discovered call Restoring The Foundations. So, the senior pastor of this church sent one of his associates named Randy. We will call him Randy although it’s not his name. But he sent Randy to us, and Randy had some really severe issues with authority figures that started with his dad. So, we go into our normal ministry process and begin to deal with some of the wounds and the hurts and the lies that Randy believed. What ended up happening was Randy could not go to some places in his life. He was unwilling to roll some of the stones away so that healing could take place. It was really hard for us, it was very sad, it was very hard because we knew we could help him, but he had to roll some stones away in his own life. No one else can.

John chapter 11 there’s truly kind of some funny things that are involved in this passage I want to bring out before we get to the serious part.  When Jesus found out his friend was sick, he delayed two days before he goes to see his friend Lazarus. I find that kind of interesting that instead of rushing right away to go, he delayed so that the glory of God could be revealed. On the trip there the disciples are walking along the road and Jesus says to them that our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, and we’ve got to go in and wake him up. I believe the disciples are kind of like we are they said, “Well if he’s just asleep then he’ll wake up,” like it won’t be a big deal. In the next sentence Jesus says bluntly, “Lazarus died”. I’d love that. Hey guys he’s dead he’s not sleeping he’s dead, but he says I’m glad for your sake’s that we weren’t there so that you may believe. Let’s go to him so then he comes in the town and his friends Martha and Mary live in this town with Lazarus and their family and they come up to Jesus and said, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died” Now I know for a fact we do that same kind of thing to Jesus all the time. I hate to say it, but we make judgments about what he should’ve done and why he didn’t do certain things and we kind of blame him when bad things happen. If you would have been here, or why you would let this happen. Why didn’t you solve this problem before it got to this point. Jesus is still in the place of wanting to bring healing into our lives using all of the circumstances. Jesus says to Martha, “your brother will rise from the dead” and Martha says I know he will rise in the resurrection. Jesus said no that’s not it, I am the resurrection and the life he who believes in me even if he dies he’s going to live, do you believe this? And she said, “yes Lord I do believe.”  Again, Jesus gets confronted by even his friends with things like you know if you would’ve been here it would’ve happened. Our friend wouldn’t have died.

Let’s move on into the story little bit when Jesus knows that Lazarus is dead and he asks, where if you laid him and they took him to the tomb. Jesus gets really really emotional. It’s the passage of scripture where it says Jesus wept. I love this passage of scripture because I really believe that that’s Jesus’ heart for us. There are times when he just weeps over the situations that we have to deal with. It’s not that he’s powerless to deal with them or to do anything about them. That’s not it at all. It’s out of his great compassion. I think at times we all must say well Jesus really didn’t care you know I was sexually abused, or I was raped, or I had my parents die when I was younger. Real serious things had happened, and he just didn’t care.  Yes, he was going to make good come out of it, but he didn’t care. No, he does care. This is a picture that shows that Jesus wept. He was moved by compassion for the people that were there. Then they come to the tomb, and this is where that passage of scripture that says roll the stone away, remove the stone. I love Martha. She said to Jesus, “but Lord there will be a stench for he’s been dead four days now.”

Let’s move from story just a little bit because there are things you and I are going to have to deal with, there are some times that we don’t go to places in our life to receive healing because if we did, if we go there and roll the stone away from that memory or that place it’s going to stink. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a bad experience we think because all we can see is the death that that has brought as a result of that event. That’s what held Randy back. He wasn’t willing to roll the stone away on some of the abuse and the hurt that he’d experienced so he did not receive the full depth of the healing that Jesus had for him. I’m going to make a strong statement. I think at times people limit their own healing. They only go to a certain level and that’s the only the level of healing we’re going to get. I think Jesus wants more for us, but he respects us to the place that if we don’t roll the stone away, he’s not going to do it for us. I’m pretty convinced that Jesus could’ve stood back and he could’ve had the UAW come in and move that stone, not the United Auto Workers. The unlimited angel warriors could’ve come and just removed that stone, but he didn’t do that. He made them choose to roll the stone away knowing that the potential was that this situation was going to stink, that there could be a bad outcome. But yet out of faith He had them move the stone. And that’s what he does with us often.

I’m talking a little bit to everyone but I’m specifically talking right now to our Restoring the Foundations Ministers. There will be times that people are going to come for ministry and you’re going to want their healing more than they do. Did you catch what I just said? There are times that we as the ministers can see the healing that is available to them, and we desperately want them to experience it. But we want it more than they do. They have to be willing to roll that stone away to remove some of the obstacles and go to places where it might stink, go to places where it might be ugly, go to places where it really might hurt for a little while. God does not bring a painful thing up just had to rub your nose in it.  He only reveals things that he wants to heal and so as a minister at times you have to be willing to let people go to the level that they’re able to at that point realizing you can see that they’re going to need more healing, they’re going to need more ministry, they’re going to need more help. Do what you’re able to do at the time to go to the level that they’re willing to go to so that they can receive the healing that they can get knowing probably they’re going to have to come back and get more later. As the minister don’t take that responsibility for their healing. Take that responsibility off of yourself and Minister to the person at the level that they’re able to go. If they’re not able to roll the stone away that’s not your job. Your job is to set the table for them to have an encounter with God and as they encounter God, he’s the one that helps them roll the stone away. I just love the fact that Jesus didn’t do it for them, but he encouraged them. He said roll the stone away And when they did roll the stone away, what did Jesus do? We see in verse 43 he says in a loud voice, and I can only imagine the thunder that would come out of his mouth, “Lazarus come out”. The power and the authority that he had over death, over whatever had killed Lazarus, he had power and authority over that. He said Lazarus come out.  Another interesting part of the story is he said to the people around them, “You unbind him and let him go”. That’s what RTF does. We unbind people from the things that hold them, from the grave clothes that they brought into their relationship with God. You know the Bible says that we were dead in our trespasses and sins and Jesus makes us alive together again with Christ, but sometimes our grave clothes are still on. People bring their grave clothes into their relationship Christ and wonder why we struggle. Jesus wants us his RTF ministers to unbind people into let them go so they can experience life and freedom that Jesus came to give us.  I love the story because there’s a responsibility that’s on each person to roll stones away stones Jesus looks at some of the things in our lives and there’s dead stuff would you agree with me? We got some dead stuff that probably stinks. But that’s OK. When we roll the stones away and give Jesus the opportunity, he calls life back into us. That’s what he did was with Lazarus. He called life back into something that was dead, something that was stinky, something that was putrid. He does that with us. He brings us back to life so that we can experience the fullness of all that he has for us. But to get there we are going to have to roll the stones away. Then once we come back to life often times, we need help getting unbound from the grave clothes. Take this story of Lazarus and use it in your life. Again, I want to speak to RTF ministers to do your job but don’t get bound up by trying to do too much. You cannot make people roll stones away. All you can do is offer them the opportunity and then once you do and they decide to roll the stones away you get to help unwrap the grave clothes. You don’t bring them back to life, Jesus does that. Jesus calls life into dead people and then we get to as ministers unwrap them unbind them and then turn them loose.

To everyone that’s listening that’s not an RTF minister I know you’re going to run into places in your life where you’ve got stones that need to be moved and it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be stinky. But look at what happens when we roll the stones away. Jesus calls life into dead things.


Jesus that you so much that you bring life into us, you bring life out of death, that you don’t leave us dead in our trespasses and sins but that you’ve made a way for us to experience life and that life more abundantly. Today I pray that you would use this podcast to bring courage to my brothers and sisters who know they can see the stone that needs to be moved but they been struggling with the ability to do that. Give them the courage to say I’m going to roll that stone away because when I do Jesus brings life.  Father bless RTF ministers as they minister to those that are bound by the grave clothes, that are bound it in and tied up by the things that they brought into their relationship with Christ.  Lord bless them with the wisdom, with the knowledge, with the understanding that You came to set them free. This message is the story that you gave to us of how you bring life into dead places.

Father bless each one In Jesus name.

 Thank you for joining us and we look forward to the opportunity to be with you again on our next Hope Healing and Freedom podcast. Bless you

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.