Now you see, in theology what that refers to is the effectual call. There are two different kinds of call according to Scripture. There's a general call, by which you give to anybody the invitation to come to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. That invitation is there in Scripture. You find it from the beginning to the end. But, you see, that general call in itself doesn't save anybody. What is necessary is the specific, effectual call of Jesus Christ, which is conveyed to the individual through the general call. When that effectual call comes, it brings forth life in one that was spiritually dead, and as a result of that they believe on Jesus.

Now we come to chapter 11, and here we're getting to what Jesus’ signs are really all about. What is essential above everything is that we be made alive by Jesus Christ. So when he calls out to Lazarus, “Lazarus, come forth!” what that is doing is showing us in graphic ways what has to happen when Jesus calls to those who are spiritually dead to believe in him and come to life forever. Now let me spell some of that out in terms of the theology of regeneration from spiritual death to spiritual life.

Here in John 11, Jesus is talking about himself as the resurrection and the life—not merely as the one who gives physical life, but even more importantly, as the one who can impart spiritual life to the one who hears Jesus efficacious call and goes on to believe on him. This makes verse 25 the heart of the story.

We come now to John 11 and the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are several striking things about this story—two of them in particular. One is that this story is not found in any of the other three Gospels. That really is surprising because it is certainly a great miracle. While the other Gospels do record Jesus’ raising people from the dead, the resurrection of Lazarus is particularly noteworthy because it occurs in Jerusalem at Passover, just before Jesus' arrest and crucifixion.

The second thing they try to do is to separate the healing from Jesus. They had to acknowledge the healing because they eventually could not escape it. So they try to attribute it to some other source. They say, “Look, give glory to God. God's the one who does miracles.” And that's right, isn't it? God is the one who does miracles. But what they refused to admit was that God, in Jesus Christ, is the one who did the miracle. So although they were trying to get away from Jesus as the source of the healing, in the end, of course, they couldn't do it because Jesus had done the miracle, and the only adequate cause was God. That meant that Jesus Christ was God. So their second approach did not work either.