What if by your death others believed?
Would you be willing to place your life on the altar that others may see the glory of God in Christ?
This was Lazarus’ mission in life, set in place before the foundation of the world.
John 11 was a great tragedy of events – right up until the moment it wasn’t.
Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth from the tomb containing his body. Jesus commanded him with a loud voice. Lazarus came forth in response, wrapped in burial cloths.
If you were reading John 11 casually, or perhaps even with great intent, you may presume the point of Jesus’ ministry in this case was to bring Lazarus back to life. He had been dead 4 days, and Jesus resurrected Him. It is an amazing, amazing, miracle. Phenomenal. Awesome. Incredible. Arguably the greatest miracle Jesus ever performed. (While He had also raised the son of the widow at Nain from the dead – as well as the daughter of Jairus – those miracles had taken place in the distant region of Galilee. The backwater. Few people actually saw those miracles performed.)
Not so in this case. On the doorstep of Jerusalem, in the near-time of His own crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus performed the miracle of the miracles of His ministry. This time many would see, and this time many would speak of it and share the news: Jesus of Nazareth had raised Lazarus of Bethany from the dead. This was not a fake. This was not a trick. Lazarus had been certified-dead for 4 days. (The Jews believed decomposition began at 4 days dead, and science supports this.)
If there was ever someone to be resurrected, Lazarus was certainly too far gone to be the one. (In the previous recorded resurrections performed by Jesus in each case the victim had died that day.)
And then comes the case of Lazarus. Dead and buried. Gone but not forgotten. Beloved. And now raised from the dead. The point? Not to raise Lazarus, but that we may believe.