The Raising of Lazarus

[Commenting on the raising of Lazarus.] You see how [Jesus] gives full scope to death. He grants free reign to the grave; he allows corruption to set normal course, he allows the realm of darkness to seize his friend, drag him down to the underworld and take possession of him. He acts like this so that human hope may perish entirely and human despair reach its lowest depths. The deed he is about to accomplish may then clearly be seen to be the work of God, not of man. He waited for Lazarus to die, staying in the same place until he could tell his disciples that he was dead. Then he announced his intention of going to him. “Lazarus is dead,” he said, “and I am glad.” Was this a sign of his love for his friend? Not so. Christ was glad because their sorrow over the death of Lazarus was soon to be changed into joy at his restoration to life. “I am glad for your sake,” he said. Why for their sake? Because the death and raising of Lazarus were a perfect prefiguration of the death and resurrection of the Lord himself.

—Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 63.2