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Jesus: The Resurrection & The Life

April 20, 2014 Speaker: Bret Rogers Series: The Gospel According to John

Topic: Resurrection Passage: John 11:1–11:44

Sermon from John 11:1-44 by Bret Rogers, Pastor
Delivered on April 20, 2014
Resurrection Sunday

Jesus’ Identity Revealed in His Earthly Ministry

As you’ve picked up already, it is Easter Sunday—the last day of Holy Week on which the church celebrates the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus died on the cross for our sins; his body was buried in a tomb; and three days later he rose triumphantly over death—defeating its power forever and ensuring reconciliation with God for all who trust in him (1 Cor 15:3-4). That’s also our testimony to the world; and that’s why we sing the songs we do with such awe and gladness and thanksgiving before God—Jesus is truly risen from the dead to reign forever. The Gospel writers all tell us of this good news. Whether Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, all of them testify to Jesus’ resurrection.

But what we also find in the Gospels are events in Jesus’ earthly ministry that help us understand Jesus’ identity before he dies on the cross and walks out of the tomb. There are certain things Jesus does and says leading up to his death and resurrection that help us grasp that the man named Jesus who dies on a Roman cross is not just any ordinary Jewish man. He’s even more than a very unique man, such as a prophet. His works and his words reveal him to be the God-man sent to save poor and needy sinners like ourselves. In the events of John 11 in particular, we find Jesus identified as the eternal Son of God sent from heaven to give life to a world that sits in death. If we ask John 11, “Who is Jesus?” The answer it gives us is, “Jesus is the eternal Son of God sent from heaven to give life to a world that sits in death.”

Jesus Is Life for a World Plagued by Death

You see, this account of Jesus raising Lazarus from death doesn’t come to us in a vacuum. The account comes to us as part of God’s revelation throughout history, which we have preserved for us in the Bible. As Christians we believe the Bible makes sense of the world we live in, because in the Bible, the Creator himself speaks about his world accurately and authoritatively for our good. And from the very beginning of the Bible, God tells us why death exists and where it comes from.

Death didn’t belong to God’s original created order; but humanity has suffered death since our first parents, Adam and Eve, were tempted in the Garden and rebelled against God’s word (Gen 2:17; 3:1-7). The Bible tells us that “sin [entered] the world through one man [=Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men [=you and me] because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). Death is God’s judicial response to sin; and it plagues us all, because we’re all such sinners.

What’s more is that this death affects more than just our physical bodies, it infects and threatens our very souls as well. All of us were created to thrive on life with God, but the problem is that even our soul is dead in rebellion without God—unless God himself makes the soul alive (Eph 2:1-4). Death is even described as an enslaving power the devil himself holds over the human race to call our bluff and make us do his bidding (Heb 2:14-15). The Bible describes death as the “covering that is cast over all peoples; [it’s] the veil that is spread over all nations” because of sin (Isa 25:7). And even the entire created order groans in the pains of childbirth as it waits to be released from its futility and corruption and death (Rom 8:22).

Death is a reality that plagues us all in a broken creation; we simply cannot ignore it. We desperately need life and deliverance from death. That’s why John 11 also exists in the Bible. John 11 exists to expose the problem of death and tell us the solution for escaping death’s powerful grip both on our bodies and on our souls. John 11 brings us face-to-face with death, and then reveals to us the only Man who has power to give life to people like you and me plagued with death.

Multiple Encounters Preparing Us for the Miracle

With that in mind, let’s walk through the story together and see Jesus’ identity revealed as the One who gives life. Verse 1, “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’”

Now, we know Jesus is currently in another village also called Bethany. We know that from the way chapter 10 ends with Jesus staying where John the Baptist had been baptizing at first (10:40); and 1:28 tells us that place was also called Bethany. So picture Jesus still in Bethany up north of Jerusalem and then Lazarus in Bethany down south next to Jerusalem—it’s about a four-day hike, like from here to Wichita Falls. And Mary and Martha send word to Jesus up north because their brother is sick.

They want his help. They want Jesus to come down and somehow keep Lazarus from dying (cf. 11:21, 32). And as soon as their message reaches Jesus, we begin running into multiple things that prepare us for understanding the miracle he’s about to perform on Lazarus. Nobody knows what he intends to do to Lazarus of course, but they will soon enough. And when he performs the miracle, Jesus wants them to see it in a particular light. So we run into several things in the meantime.

1. Lazarus’s Illness & Death Is for the Revelation of God’s Glory in His Son

Get this first one in verse 4: Lazarus’s illness and death is for the revelation of God’s glory in his Son. Verse 4, “When Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It’s for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’” This is much like what Jesus said about the man born blind in 9:4—that particular man was born blind in order that “the works of God might be displayed in him.” Here, Lazarus in particular is ill—and will in fact die because of his illness—but death is not the ultimate end of the illness. The ultimate end is for God the Father to reveal his glory in God the Son. So, already Jesus is preparing us for the miracle he’s about to perform.

Lazarus’s illness and death has a God-centered purpose as Jesus unveils God’s plans. God will use it to glorify Jesus in his earthly ministry. That means the invisible God will cause his power and majesty and character and perfections to go public in the person of Jesus. God gives all kinds of works and signs and miracles to Jesus during his earthly ministry (5:20, 36); and every time he performs them God displays something wonderful about Jesus (2:11). This time God will use the lifeless corpse of Lazarus. To make Jesus look great. But the only way you can see Jesus’ greatness is if you’re first centered on God’s glory in Jesus. It is possible to see Jesus’ power and totally miss his person; to witness his miracles and totally miss his mission. Don’t make that mistake; listen carefully to Jesus’ words—the glory of God is revealed in him.

2. Jesus’ Shocking Delay Is Loving for His Friends

The story goes on. Verse 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” If your Bible translation says “Yet, when he heard that Lazarus was ill…” (e.g., NIV), cross it out and write “so” or even better “therefore [Gk. oun], when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer.” John is making a crucial point about the love of God; and it’s found in the shocking response of Jesus. In fact, note this as a second point: Jesus’ shocking delay is loving for his friends.

This family is desperately needing Jesus’ healing power, and he delays coming to them for two more days; and the text says he did this because he loved them. That’s the connection you need to make between verse 5 and verse 6: “he loved them… therefore…he stayed two days longer.” What’s even more shocking about Jesus’ delay is that he decides to return to Judea only when he knows for sure Lazarus is dead.

We’ll see more of that in a minute; but for now, surely the question pressing on our minds is how can Jesus’ delay—even at the request of such dear friends (11:3)—be viewed as loving to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus? As long as we define love in the world’s terms—namely, love is whatever makes much of me and gives me what I think I need whenever I think I need it—then we will not see Jesus’ delay as very loving. But if we define love on the Bible’s terms, we will see something far different about Jesus. We will see his delay as supremely loving.

What John is bringing together for us is this: God’s aim to reveal the glory of Jesus by letting Lazarus first die and be buried for four days is loving, because love is ultimately defined by whatever helps people see the glory and worth of Jesus. When we went through first Corinthians as a church, we defined Christian love as a genuine affection for another’s good in God such that we spend ourselves to see them obtain it. This right here is the “in God” part of that definition—love must be defined by whatever helps people see the glory and worth of God in Jesus.

By delaying two days, Jesus ensures that Lazarus is not only dead, but dead long enough that even his corpse starts decaying (11:39). The Father wants them smelling the death of Lazarus when Jesus overwhelms him with new life. And if that serves to open their eyes to Jesus’ glory, his delay is loving.

There’s an important lesson for us in this: God is more interested in giving us what we truly need than in giving us what we think we need when we think we need it. Our greatest need is not the immediate physical healing of our loved ones, or the immediate relief of all sorrow, or the immediate gift of a pain-free life. Our greatest need is to see Jesus standing forth in all his glory, because to see him and to know him and to have more of him is what leads to true life. Sometimes that will mean delay, delay, delay, in order that we come to experience more of him, and say with Asaph, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Ps 73:25). Part of Christian growth is learning that God’s love works for us in strange ways, but that his love in strange ways is always working for us in Christ and never against us.

3. Jesus’ Mission Is to Do the Will of the Father

So Jesus’ shocking delay is loving because it’s connected to helping his people see the revelation of God’s glory. The next part of the story magnifies Jesus’ love even more. Verse 7, “Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’”

I said Jesus’ love for his friends is magnified even more, because Jesus shows he’s willing to go to Bethany and reveal his glory despite the mounting hostility of the Jews. And what’s driving him to come to Martha and Mary is not so much their request as it is his Father’s will. Jesus’ mission is always to do the will of the Father—write that down. God’s love for Martha and Mary is magnified because the Father is sending Jesus to them to show them his glory, and Jesus goes, even at the risk of his own life—and even knowing that what he will do to Lazarus will lead to his own death (11:53).

That’s what’s meant by the metaphor of there being twelve hours in the day. As the Light of the world, Jesus’ time on earth is fading fast as the hostility of the Jews keeps rising. But there’s still daylight and therefore still time for them to work (cf. 9:4-5). Jesus knows his Father has appointed an hour for him to die and be taken out of the world; but nothing could happen to him until then (2:4; 4:21; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23). So as long as the light of Jesus was still shining, it was time to work. It’s a way for Jesus to insist that both he and his disciples must be about his Father’s mission. In this case, it’s time to go reveal his glory in Bethany. If it serves his Father and blesses his friends, he’s on it, whatever the cost.

Now Jesus knows it’s the right time to go to Bethany, because evidently his Father revealed such knowledge to him supernaturally. It’s not as if he got a text message from Martha. And we see this in 5:19-20: “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.” That was back in chapter 5 when he healed a crippled man; and Jesus said there, “and greater works than these will [the Father] show [me].” In other words, “You thought healing the crippled man was something; let’s see what the Father has in store for you with a dead man.”

4. Jesus Is Glad to Produce Faith in His Friends

So he says in verse 11, “‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”

The disciples are still a bit slow here; but you’ve got to love that despite their misunderstanding, Jesus still patiently teaches them, still patiently corrects them, still patiently lets them come along for the ride, and all so that their faith in him might deepen. In fact, verse 15 tells us explicitly that Jesus is glad, that he rejoices in doing things to produce faith in his disciples—mark that down, too. What he does might be hard to swallow at first, difficult to accept initially, foreign to our self-centered motives, contrary to the way the world usually thinks, but ultimately Jesus is glad to work with his Father in ways that generate faith within his friends.

I hope several of you take courage in that: as long as you remain near to Jesus, he will be happy to work in ways that produce faith in you. He’s not giving this insight to everybody; he’s giving it to his disciples, his friends—those who’ve stuck with him. You may not completely understand all that Jesus is up to or why he’s called you to what he has, but if you remain in his presence, he will delight in giving you faith and helping you understand who he is. And what more could we ask for as his disciples, his friends, than to know him more fully. Paul would later put it this way: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:7-8). So draw near to him in his word and prayer and join him in his sufferings that you might know him more fully.

5. Jesus Reveals Himself as the Resurrection and the Life

We should keep moving. Jesus now arrives in Bethany and we run into a very significant remark by Jesus: he reveals himself as the resurrection and the life. Verse 17, “Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’”

Even in her deep lament Martha holds fast to Jesus. The veil of death that covers all peoples because of sin has taken Lazarus. Four days without hearing his voice; four days without eating together; four days not seeing him at work; four days not greeting him when he comes home; four days wanting him back. Yet you find on her lips, “I still trust you, I know God still listens to you, Jesus.” As I said before, when we remain near to Jesus, he is pleased to reveal more of himself to us. In fact, even in the midst of her suffering and sorrow he reveals where Martha’s ultimate hope needs to be—in him.

Verse 23, “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’” Jesus wants Martha holding on to more than an orthodox confession of the end times (cf. Dan 12:2; John 5:28-29); he wants her holding on to himself.

So he turns Martha’s focus from her pain to his person. He doesn’t do so without empathy; that becomes clear in a moment. But he still does so because the greatest balm for her soul is not a mere agreement with her orthodox confession—“Yep, Martha, you’re right; Lazarus will rise on the last day”—but an opening of her spiritual eyes to behold his person: “I am the resurrection and the life, Martha.” In other words, “Martha, the life-giving power that it will take to raise everybody on the final day—all that life-giving power is contained in me. I am so much the provider of resurrection and life, that apart from me you will not find it.”

Jesus alone overcomes the power of death for his followers. He overcomes the consequences of physical death in the final resurrection of our bodies; and he overcomes the consequences of spiritual death by giving us eternal life now, before the resurrection of our bodies. Look at his words again: “Whoever believes in me [so these things are true if you believe in him], though he die [physically speaking], yet shall he live [meaning at the resurrection on the last day Jesus will raise you], and everyone who lives [spiritually speaking in the present] and believes in me shall never die [that is, shall never lose their life with God].” Even if death takes our body to the grave, it cannot ultimately snuff out the life of a believer, because the soul keeps living with Christ waiting to be given a glorified body on the last day when God brings his kingdom.

Everybody who doesn’t believe in Jesus only experiences death right now, and they’ll only experience more death when they are raised on Judgment Day. That’s why the Bible refers to that experience for unbelievers as the “second death” (Rev 2:11; 20:6, 14). People who don’t trust in Christ are not raised to experience life, but only more death in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). But those who believe in Jesus will not only be raised to experience resurrection life on the last day, but they can even experience the life of the resurrection now through fellowship and intimacy with Jesus.

And that’s why Jesus presses Martha further, “Do you believe this?” Her greatest need and your greatest need and the world’s greatest need is Jesus himself. He is the resurrection, and he is the life. Do you believe this? That question is for everybody in this room, and especially for the members of this church. Do you believe that Jesus possesses the power to raise you from the dead? If so, then how much have you been willing to lay down your life for others? Are there limitations to your sacrificial living? “I’ll do this much for him, but no more; I’ll enter this neighborhood, but not that one; I’ll serve Jesus in America, but never over there…it’s too dangerous.”

Or do you put limitations on following him? “I’ll give him my time, but not my money; I’ll give him my money, but not my time; I’ll show up on Sundays, but will not really invest myself in his people; I’ll read the Bible, but still hold on to my sins; I’ll say nice things about church, but still want my drugs.” If so, all of these prove we’re seeking to find life in something or someone else that cannot really provide it.

Friends, Jesus has made a trustworthy claim about his power to raise the dead. Do you take him at his word? Death cannot win out when we’re friends with Jesus; and eternal life will never be lost when we have fellowship with him. Turn from your fears and draw nearer to him, that you might see him as he is. Perhaps you’ll be even more convinced as we move along in the story.

6. Jesus Is Outraged and Grieved by the Enemy, Death

Another thing we encounter before Jesus arrives at the tomb of Lazarus, namely, Jesus is outraged and grieved by the enemy, death. Verse 28, “When [Martha] had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.”

A better translation is “[Jesus] was outraged in spirit and greatly troubled” (cf. Gk. embrimaomai in Matt 9:30; Mar 1:43; 14:5). It’s a profound expression of displeasure and inner turmoil not over the people’s mourning itself, but over the presence of death in the scene at hand. Some of this language will even be used later as Jesus approaches the cross and his betrayal when Satan enters Judas—Jesus’ soul becomes "troubled" (John 12:27; 13:21). We see the "outrage" again in verse 38, but there it is the unbelief of the Jews who still think death is greater than Jesus.

Death displeases Jesus; he’s outraged about it. It’s painful to humanity for a reason. It didn’t belong to God’s original created order. Death entered the world because of our sin, and some of that sin is present even here in the unbelief of the people around him, who do not know him as they ought to know him (cf. John 1:9-11). Death is a horrible curse on a world that was made to live. The Bible even calls death an enemy: “the last enemy to be destroyed is death” when Jesus brings the kingdom of God on earth (1 Cor 15:26). Don’t become numb to the reality of what death is. Yes, we have great promises in the Bible that help us see death as an entry way into glory, but that’s not the end we’re looking for. With Jesus, we want death destroyed—completely put under Jesus’ feet—and we want our resurrection bodies to enjoy Jesus in those bodies in his kingdom. But while death remains, it’s an enemy to the human race. And Jesus is outraged by it.

But with the outrage over death, and death because of sin, there also comes grief. Jesus isn’t a cold-hearted, stoic Savior, who doesn’t identify with the sorrow we feel. He’s certainly without sin when he feels (Heb 4:15); he’s certainly not controlled by his emotions, but his emotions are always in line with his perfections. But Jesus as a man still knows grief. Verse 34, “And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?’ Then Jesus, deeply moved [or “outraged”] again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.”

The whole scene is just stone-cold with death and unbelief and despair, despite the fact that the Resurrection and the Life is present with them. The whole thing drives Jesus to tears. When I read this, I was reminded of another place in Scripture where it says Jesus wept in the face of death. Hebrews 5:7, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death…” Loud cries and tears from Jesus when the power and grip of death was in front of him. Jesus is outraged and grieved by the enemy of death.

Jesus Raises Lazarus from Death

But here’s something important that makes Jesus’ outrage and grief over death different from our own. We grieve over death, but can’t do anything about it. We know that things shouldn’t be this way; we just can’t do anything to change it. No so with Jesus. He is grieved over death, but has the power to reverse it. He knows well that things shouldn’t be this way; but that’s why he entered the world—in order to change it. Jesus is powerful over death. We normally live our lives under the notion that death swallows up life; but Jesus lives to swallow up death with his life (2 Cor 5:4). Nothing, not even death, can stand in his way if he chooses to give life.

Now, we’re ready for the miracle. Verse 39, “Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” Here it is, what we’ve been waiting for—the revelation of God’s glory in the Son. “So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this [meaning I said this out loud, publicly] on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’”

One word from Jesus and Lazarus lives again. Some have said before that if Jesus hadn’t specified Lazarus’s name, every tomb in Jerusalem would have opened (Carson, John, 418). The point of the miracle is clear. Jesus really is who he says he is. He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and now he raises a dead man that everybody standing around knew had been dead for four days. The point of the story is that Jesus is in fact God’s Son who came from heaven to give life to a world that sits in death. He really has the power to raise the dead and reverse the colossal effects of the Fall of humanity into sin and death. And that is why he came.

The Resurrection & the Life Enters Death Himself

We’re right back at the beginning. I told you that Jesus’ identity is revealed in his earthly ministry before he dies on the cross, so that we see his death is a unique one. Among all the Roman crucifixions, Jesus’ death is a unique one because Jesus himself is the eternal Son of God who gives life to the world. What are you to see when you read of him hanging on the cross? You are to see the eternal Son of God who came to give me life. This is how he’s revealed himself in the raising of Lazarus; and this is how you must understand the events of his death and resurrection.

Is it strange to you that the one who calls himself the Resurrection and the Life enters death himself? Why bother entering death if you have power and authority over it, right? Who wants to enter death if you can just turn it upside down with a word? I’ll tell who—the One who knows the depth of your depravity and loves you enough to die for your sins before commanding you to come out of the grave. If Jesus had just stayed in heaven and called you out of the tomb on the last day; he would have to condemn you for your sins. He would only raise you to punish you.

But that’s not what he does. He comes first to die for you. He overturns the power death has over his people by entering death himself. You see, Lazarus was raised from death only to die again. But Jesus ends up defeating it once and for all not by speaking a more powerful word, but by giving himself up as a sacrifice in place of sinners, entering death, and conquering it from the inside out.

His death gives life, because it frees us from the sin that brought on the curse of death to begin with. And when we’re freed from sin, we gain fellowship with God—something the Bible calls eternal life. Moreover, his resurrection gives life because in it he conquers the power of the grave for all who would trust in him. Unlike Lazarus, Jesus entered death through the cross and raised himself up three days later never to die again. And if you trust in him, and what he did for you on the cross and in the resurrection, you will never die either. Not even physical death will have the last word on your life—death will only usher you into God’s presence until you get a new body when Jesus returns.

The sin that causes your death he took to the grave through the cross, so that you might rise with him to new life in resurrection. That’s what Trevor and Victoria proclaimed this morning in baptism; and I urge you to join them in celebrating life with Christ if you haven’t already. Find me or one of the brothers at the end of the service; and we would count it a joy to speak with you about new life in Jesus.

In fact, I urge all of you this morning, believe on Jesus by banking your life on the claims of the Bible. Draw near to him by picking up a Bible and reading of him, and he will be glad to produce faith in you for eternal life. God himself has given testimony to his Son this morning, and it would literally be throwing your life away not to believe it. None of us can escape the power of death apart from a relationship with Jesus. None of us will even know what it truly means to live until we walk closely with him. So come to him and gain life, all of you. Listen to his words and follow him. He has spoken for your eternal good in God and revealed himself out of love for you. Don’t take this story as written for some general crowd out there called the church; they were written for you, that you might know Jesus personally as the One sent from heaven to give life to a world that sits in death. If he can raise Lazarus, if he can raise himself after your sin took him to the grave, he can raise you.