On this last Sunday before we arrive at Holy Week, it makes sense that we should hear about this great sign that concludes Jesus’ public ministry in the gospel of John. The raising of Lazarus shows us Jesus’ victory over death, that he himself is the “resurrection and the life,” and that eternal life is ours in Christ.
Let’s do a little thought experiment. I’d like us to think back to, say, two weeks before we were born. I know, we can’t really remember, but just imagine it. There, at the very beginning of our life, our whole world is our mother’s little womb. It’s dark and it’s small, but it’s complete as far as we were concerned then, and has everything we need. Now let’s say, by some magical process, we were able to receive a letter while we were still in the womb. And let’s say we did receive a letter from our big brother or sister.
So we read the letter. Our older sibling writes: You are not going to believe what’s on the way for you. You’re going to go through some rough hours. This is what you call “being born.” But—and I know this is going to sound crazy—soon you will find yourself in a world infinitely bigger than the one you know now. You’re going to see things, and meet all kinds of people, you’re going to go places, see light and colors, and you’re going to stand up and walk and even run.