The truth is that the stone is supernaturally rolled away. Full salvation means we are forgiven through Christ’s death and restored through His resurrection.
And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” (Mark 16:3a)
This question, uppermost in the minds of the grieving women who approached Jesus’ tomb, is very relevant for Christians today. So many believers still stand on the ‘wrong side’ of the stone, believing that it rests between them and Christ. As a result, they are closed off the from full power of the complete Gospel – death and resurrection. It can be the result of incorrect or incomplete teaching, or simple misunderstanding. Whatever the cause, stunted growth and partial liberty is always the consequence. How tragic it is when we don’t grasp the full truth that the stone is rolled away. It has already been done for us, just as the temple veil was torn in two to allow us access into the very Holy of Holies. It is a limited, incomplete, or erroneous perception of the cross that robs so many of God’s people of their full liberty in Christ.
Many Christians don’t see that the stone is rolled away.
There is no doubt that these women loved Jesus. They prepared for this moment from before the Sabbath, gathering the herbs and ointments they needed. Their desire was to render this final service to their Lord, that of embalming His body. The sentiments behind it are poignant and indicative of the deep love they felt for Him. It took a lot of courage to brave the roiling political and religious conditions. Both the Romans and the Sanhedrin were determined that Jesus remain out of the reach of His followers. The stone had been firmly rolled into place despite the hasty burial and guards were posted. Little wonder, then, that the women were concerned that they had no one to provide access. It didn’t even occur to them that the stone was rolled away. Logic dictated that this was an impossibility, and that was what they saw.
Logic – however skewed or misguided – is always the enemy of faith. It either didn’t occur to them or they misunderstood Christ’s own promise of His resurrection. The same condition exists among many of His followers today. They see in the natural rather than the supernatural. A barrier remains between them and their risen Lord. Their faith remains entombed with the body of Jesus and hasn’t moved past that to the glorious resurrection. Yet political and religious leaders alike recognised and feared the import of the simple truth. The stone is rolled away is an incredible reality that defies natural logic, reason, and explanation. It is a reality we, as believers, must take hold of if we are to share in the resurrection life of Jesus which is as much a part of the cross as His death. Christ died for us, yes, but He was also raised for us.
The stone is rolled away so we share in His resurrection.
This is the first dramatic consequence of the truth that the stone is rolled away. There is no denying that the very fabric of salvation is woven from the cross. But that has two sides – His death and His resurrection. His rising from the dead was accomplished by supernatural, not natural means. The relevance lies in the fact of identification. Jesus identified completely with each and every human being on the cross. In spiritual terms, His being there was as good as us being there. It wasn’t simply substitution, it was full identification. The same is absolutely true for His resurrection. When He rose from the dead, we rose from the dead. The identification did not stop on Calvary. God never does an incomplete work. An examination of the Greek reveals that our salvation is perfectly perfect and completely complete – it is finished in every single detail.
This is what the women – and the disciples – missed. Jesus died as the Son of Man so that He could fully identify with us. He rose as the Son of God so we could fully identify with Him. It is the completion of a perfect work of restoring spiritual man to a spiritual God by bridging the natural to the supernatural. His death was physical but it brought a victory in the spiritual realm. His resurrection was spiritual but it brought life to the physical realm. The two cannot be separated. We must recognise that the stone is rolled away. Christ dying on the cross was the payment of the price for our sin. That’s wonderful, but payment does not bring life. Resurrection does. Without the resurrection, we would be forgiven but not restored. This is the place where many Christians remain trapped. They are forgiven, not restored.
The stone is rolled away is truth that brings liberty.
It saddens me that so many believers do not live in the fullness of resurrection life. In so many areas, there is a barrier between us and Christ. We’ve identified with His death but are trapped in the tomb and on the wrong side of the stone. We serve a crucified Christ rather than one crucified and raised. In the darkness of the tomb, we cannot see that the stone is rolled away. Believers are trapped by wrong thought patterns, negative habits, old fears or emotional scars, and curses and demonic oppression. They haven’t yet grasped that no matter what our stone, it is already rolled away by the supernatural resurrection power of God. I know the darkness of the tomb well. I have lived in it for most of my life. Yes, I believed Jesus died for me and grasped that salvation with thanksgiving but never progressed.
I rejoice in my salvation and in the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. But I rejoice even more that He rose from the dead and took me with Him. To identify with Jesus in spiritual death of my sinful self is releasing. But learning that the stone is rolled away enabled me to identify with Him in resurrection. That was the moment I was able to walk out of the tomb into supernatural life in Him. True liberty in Jesus begins the moment that we leave the tomb with Him. Each believer has different stones. They trap us in a place of deception. We come to accept that half of salvation is the full measure of salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Living in the truth that the stone is rolled away.
The tragic reality is that we trap ourselves in the tomb. Anything that hinders us from walking in the full measure of resurrection life and liberty is a stone. It separates us from God and the completeness of perfect salvation. Jesus came to break the curse, not perpetuate it. He came to liberate, not entomb. Tragically, we somehow receive a limited ‘version’ of the cross. To know that the Son of God Himself loved us to the point that He was willing to suffer and die for us is incredible. It’s wonderful and almost impossible to comprehend. But we must also take hold of the fact that He rose for us. We must lose the limited human thinking and rationale that we must worship His corpse rather than His risen spirit. To celebrate the cross fully means to celebrate His resurrection also. The stone is rolled away.
Most of our stones are self-made with the help of Satan and the world. Our sins, our inadequacies, and our fears roll themselves between us and God’s saving, resurrecting power. But every stone we face has already been rolled away. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). We need only remind ourselves that, in Jesus’ resurrection, the stone is rolled away. Human nature is strange. We can be in a room with four doors, one in each wall. But if we truly believe there is no door, we will die trapped with no hope of escape. Our minds will convince us of anything, whether it is true or not. The full resurrection life of our risen Saviour is available to us. All we have to do is believe and walk through the open entrance of the tomb with Him. He has already made a way.
The supernatural power in the stone is rolled away.
Left to our own fleshly limitations, we will remain as those women, looking for others to roll away the stone. Teaching on this is critical to every new Christian. The truth is that the stone is rolled away by the supernatural power of God. Resurrection defies every natural logic and reason. It challenges every natural law. It turns our natural expectations upside down and inside out. But we do not serve a natural God. He is spirit and is supernatural in every way. The power of this truth lies in the reality that it has already happened. Our stones – every single one of them – we rolled away when Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of that tomb. If you’re trapped behind the stone, look for the risen Lord. Celebrate His death with thanksgiving, but celebrate His resurrection with living. Believe and walk free with Him.
Jesus, thank You for all You accomplished on the cross. We can never diminish what it cost You to suffer and die for our sake. But, Lord, help us to celebrate Your resurrection. Thank You for reminding us that You are risen, that You have gained the victory and rolled away every stone that keeps us from living in Your liberty. Help us to worship both the crucified Saviour and the conquering King. Help us to believe that we can walk beyond the cross and into the resurrection life You purchase so willingly for each one of us.