By: Ariel S. Padigos
The Gospel according to John is quite different from the synoptic gospels. It is unique as it does not follow the same order or the same stories as the synoptic gospels shows. It is highly literary and symbolic. (The New American Bible, 2004).
This gospel narrative of John contains a series of “signs”, in which, it signifies the gospel’s word for the wondrous deeds of Jesus. Among the signs is the raising of Lazarus in Chapter 11. This account includes the narrative of the sickness, death, and the resurrection of Lazarus. It is also the climax of all the signs as Lazarus is presented as a token of the real life of Jesus. Because of the gift of life to Lazarus, Jesus is ironically put to death. Thus, it makes the people believe in Him once He has been raised from the dead. Moreover, Jesus proved in this account that He is the resurrection and the life of men for he overcomes death.
Perkins (1990) as cited in the Jerome Biblical Commentary says that “…the Lazarus’ miracle is a sign that Jesus really is the power of life evident in resurrection. He calls to life a buried person in the tomb. This section creates the necessary time between the death of Lazarus and Jesus’ arrival so that there can be no mistake. Lazarus was not in a coma. He had been dead for a long enough time that rabbinic authorities would have said that the soul had left the vicinity of the body and the decay would have definitely set in” (p. 969). In fact, it was two days that Jesus has waited before He goes to the family at Bethany. Jesus waited before raising Lazarus as to make His own death certain.
Beforehand, Jesus said that the sickness of Lazarus was not unto death. However, even He spoke of it, Lazarus was perhaps already dead. The words have deeper meaning, related with the glory of God, which is also that of Jesus. And Jesus was confident that Lazarus will be resurrected....