There's a second lesson that is also an application, and that is the obvious one. Jesus is the source of life. You see, if you really want to live, he's the one from whom you have to find it. I find an interesting little thing in this story, in verses 14 and 16. Before Jesus actually got up to Bethany he tells them plainly that Lazarus is dead. Now, notice what Thomas, one of the disciples, said: “Let us also go that we may die with him.” They're thinking of death, and he's thinking of life. You see, what they had to learn is that as long as they were with Jesus, they would experience life. Not only would they see it in the physical resurrection, but they would begin to experience it in a personal way as well. Jesus is the source of life, and if you're with him, and you hear him, and you live in his presence, and feed upon him, and grow in that fellowship, then you will live as well.

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.