This is the climactic seventh sign of John’s gospel, in which God the Father and God the Son will be glorified (v. 4), so that they may be revealed for who they are. This is one of only three resurrection miracles performed by Jesus recorded in the Gospels (see Mark 5:41-42;Luke 7:11-17). It foreshadows the resurrection of Jesus himself.
In verse 4, we see further evidence of Jesus’ perfect knowledge-Jesus knows what will happen. Here is clear evidence of Jesus’ deity, but John asserts that the Word became flesh and so he places Jesus’ deity in the context of His real humanity.
Jesus loved this family at Bethany, and they called for Him in their time of need (v. 3). They go out to meet Him, and first Martha, then Mary, speaks to Him (vv. 21, 32). Jesus trembles with emotion when He sees the weeping (v. 33) and He is ″deeply moved″ before the tomb containing the dead Lazarus (v. 38); He too weeps, apparently out of love for Lazarus (vv. 35-36). Jesus was no robot. He was a man with real emotions and friendships; He is moved to tears by death. But He is more than a mere man; He knows that His Father’s will is that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father (John 5:22-23). This occasion serves to honour Him as God’s Son, who is the resurrection and the life (v. 4).
Jesus also wants them to believe (vv. 15, 27). Indeed Martha’s belief (v. 27) precisely mirrors John’s goal in writing (John 20:31).
Jesus is truly human. He is also truly divine. Verses 25-26 contain Jesus’ fifth ″I am″ statement: ″I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.″ Already in this gospel, Jesus has claimed to offer the essence of life-bread, light, and water. Now, He is the source of life itself.
To support His claim, Jesus calls the four-day-dead Lazarus out from the tomb. The Jews believed that the spirit lingered over the body after death for three days before leaving for good. In other words, this is a resurrection, not resuscitation, to life. Lazarus emerges, still wrapped in his grave clothes (v. 44).
There is anxiety about death in all those who are like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus has taken the sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:55); it cannot ultimately harm us. Is your trust, your belief, in Him? ″Do you believe this?″ (v. 26). The irony here is that Jesus’ decision to return to this area, to bring Lazarus to life, is the catalyst for His own death. For it is here He is threatened (John 10:39), and Thomas’ response is prophetic (11:16), as are the words of Caiaphas (11:51-53).
″Do you believe this?″ Spend some time praising God that because Jesus lives, you will also live.