“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”” (John 11:38-44)
The background to this miraculous moment is the death of Lazarus. Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha who were both close to Jesus. Lazarus had become ill and is on the point of death; Mary and Martha send a message to Jesus asking him to come quickly. They correctly assume that Jesus has the power to heal Lazarus. However, after receiving the message from the sisters Jesus stayed where he was for 2 more days. Lazarus’ sickness and impending death were not a surprise to Jesus and they did not cause him to panic. He knew what was going to happen. What events in our lives may not be part of our plans, but might actually be part of God’s plan?
An interesting point to note is that Jesus did “long distance” healings in the gospels so Jesus’ physical location is not the issue here. By the time Jesus arrived where Lazarus was he had already been dead for 4 days. This is significant because Jewish belief was that the soul of a dead person remained with the body for 3 days after death with the possibility or resuscitation. By delaying for 2 days Jesus ensures that he arrives more than 3 days after Lazarus’ death and highlights the miracle that he is about to do, removing other potential explanations.
When Jesus arrives Mary expresses what all of them were thinking ““Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Do you find it harder to believe in Jesus when circumstances are difficult or when everything seems to be going your way? Once Jesus arrives where Lazarus has been buried, he asks to see the tomb. He goes so far as to ask for the stone sealing the tomb to be removed. This would have been a rather unpleasant experience as the body would have already begun to decompose in the warm Middle Eastern climate. Yet where death and decay have already set in, Jesus is working. Jesus responds to Martha’s comments about removing the stone by saying: “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). The key to this passage is faith in Jesus and the belief that what he says is possible. Those who are willing to believe will see the glory of God.
At Jesus’ request the stone coving Lazarus’ tomb is removed, Jesus prays to God, and calls for Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Amazingly, astonishingly, Lazarus rises and walks out of the tomb. Can you imagine watching a man who had been dead for 4 days come walking out of a tomb? This miracle proved that Jesus has power over death and foreshadows his own resurrection. Earlier, when Martha is wondering why Jesus had not come to them sooner Jesus had responded: “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[d] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:23-26). This is an amazing promise of the power and hope of eternal life. As Lazarus rises from the dead a tragic situation is quickly turned into a story of hope, life and glory. Though Lazarus’ physical body would die again, spiritually he will never die. This is the promise for all who follow Jesus: though they will die physically, they will never face spiritual death.
The responses of the people who witnessed Lazarus raised from the dead fell into two camps (John 11:45-47). Many people believed in Jesus as a result, but others reported to the Pharisees what had happened who from this point on began plotting to kill Jesus.
Those who believed in Jesus saw the glory of God displayed and the foreshadowing of the resurrection from the dead that awaits all followers of Jesus. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Believe and you will see.
 Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, p. 252). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.