“When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4 HCSB)
There is a curious lack of focus on Lazarus in John’s account of how Jesus raised him from the dead. We know Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, but after receiving news that Lazarus is sick, Jesus stays where he is for two more days. We know that at the end of the story, after four days in the tomb, Jesus speaks and Lazarus comes out. We hear both Mary and Martha’s voices in the story, but never Lazarus’s voice. If you had witnessed this and were recounting the story, wouldn’t you ask Lazarus: “How was it? How did you feel? What happened? Did you hear when Jesus spoke?” But…nothing.
Which is, I think, the point.
Jesus tells us the whole purpose of this, his seventh and greatest sign recounted in John. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified in it. This story is not ultimately about Lazarus, nor is it about Martha, nor Mary. This story is about Jesus, the Son of God being glorified. John keeps the focus on Jesus throughout the story because what he does and what he says is what is important. John doesn’t want us to focus on the minor points that might make us miss the major point: Jesus spoke words and a dead, stinking, rotting guy came walking out of a tomb while still wrapped in burial covering!
When you think about it, dear reader, if you are a follower of Jesus, then Lazarus is you. You were dead, stinking, and rotting, and Jesus called you forth to life.
That story is not about you, it’s about Jesus.