The raising of Lazarus is the seventh and final “sign” recorded by John. The scene is filled with great pathos as the dismay of the sisters and the loud mourning of the people collide with the site of Lazarus’ tomb. And once again Jesus is described as being filled with indignation. Translated as “deeply moved,” in many English translations, the word is better understood as anger. It was used to describe the snorting of horses dressed for war. Jesus is no stoic when it comes to death and the grave. His anger is kindled against all that has vandalized and damaged his image-bearers. At the tomb of Lazarus, The Resurrection and the Life stands before death ready to announce its soon coming defeat.
In the raising of Lazarus, we are invited to ponder the power of the gospel and the miracle of our salvation. The body of Lazarus moldering in the tomb is a worthy picture of our spiritual condition outside of Christ. We were not merely hampered by our sin. Rather, we were “dead in the trespasses and sins,” which once defined us (Ephesians 2:1). So the gospel is not a hand up or a Divine assist. The gospel is the announcement that in his dying and rising Jesus has brought the dead to life.
Jesus is “the Resurrection and the Life” (vs. 26). In Christ, the life of the believer is no longer terminated by death. Death, the unwelcome intruder, has been sentenced to death by the life-giving Christ. Indeed, death has been rendered so impotent that when Christians die, they nevertheless still live (vs. 25)! The raising of Lazarus serves as a signpost pointing the Christian that great day of resurrection:
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).