This is last miracle John recorded providing needed truth so that sinners would believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Christ, the Son of God (20:20-31). John has said that Jesus is the water of life (4:14), the bread of life (6:35), the light of life (8:12), and here that Jesus as the life gives life (11:25-26).
Sickness and death are the effects and judgment of sin everyone experiences because everyone has sinned (cf. Rom 3:23; 6:23). While Lazarus—a true believer in the Lord—was going to die, God would be glorified through it (vv. 1-6). When Jesus determined to go to Judea the disciples were alarmed because of what might happen to him (vv. 7-10), but Jesus would go to raise Lazarus from the dead so that they would believe in him (vv. 11-16).
Upon arriving, Jesus encouraged Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary that whoever believes in him would not experience eternal death (vv. 25-26). Jesus’ life-giving authority over death and the grave is graphically portrayed here by his commands, “take away the stone” (v. 39) and “Lazarus, come forth!” (v. 43). Lazarus—the man dead and buried for four days—was literally raised from the dead by Jesus! Only God can raise the dead, and this miracle shows Jesus to be God.
Despite this indisputable miracle Jews who were eyewitnesses determined not only to kill Jesus but Lazarus (vv. 45-57; 12:9-11)!
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Sickness and death bring a whirlpool of emotions so Christians must rely on Jesus, the unchanging Savior and God. He not only is unaffected by sin and death, he defeated them!
- Jesus as the God-man experienced and expressed genuine sorrow because of his deep love for Lazarus. It is not sinful to sorrow; deep feeling is not something to be ashamed of. True sympathy is Christ-like. Being cold, stoic, and unmoved in the sight of sorrow is no sign of grace.
- Jesus is affected by your infirmities and troubles. Christian, in troubled times pour your heart out to him; he knows what you go through and truly cares.
- The peace of your soul and life after death depends on definite faith in Jesus Christ. This must be settled in your mind, grasped tightly in your heart, and relied on entirely with your will. You must believe, welcome, and submissively trust in no one and nothing less than Jesus the eternal God.
- Christian, when you lie down in the grave you can do so in the full assurance that you will rise again. You can thus face death with soul comfort, free from any worry or fear.