(11) These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
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As Jesus leaves for Bethany, He gives those around Him a softened description of death, saying, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up” (John 11:11), to indicate that it is temporary. His disciples think He refers to natural sleep and that Lazarus would recover from his sickness. Then Jesus tells them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.”
We must learn to see death from God's perspective. Christ has power over life and death. In this case, He was willing to resurrect Lazarus from death to physical life. He used Lazarus' death to perform a miracle that would glorify God and identify Himself as the Messiah, the Savior of mankind.
Job shows that he knew the answer to his own rhetorical question: “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes” (Job 14:14). After a person dies, he will be resurrected at the appropriate time. Jesus prophesies in John 5:28-29:“[T]he hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
The lesson of this breathtaking miracle is that Christ is the regenerator of the dead, spiritually and physically. He is able to regenerate the hearts and minds of those who are spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins. He brought the body of Lazarus back from corruption, and so He is able and willing to deliver people from their abominable sins. His life-giving miracle of grace is as truly remarkable as His powerful and miraculous ability to resurrect.
— Martin G. Collins