Scala/Art Resource, NY

“Lazarus, come out!” Jesus calls when he arrives at his friend’s tomb. “And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth” (John 11:43–44). For John’s Jesus, rebirth into a new world is available to all who hear Jesus’ message and obey. And John’s gospel is the place where readers can hear Jesus’ message. The gospel is thus more of an apocalypse—a text where heavenly truths are revealed—than a typical gospel account of Jesus’ life.

Throughout his gospel, John echoes the language of the Genesis Creation account, suggesting that Jesus is a harbinger of a new Creation. This early-14th-century fresco by Giotto from the Arena Chapel, in Padua, similarly links Lazarus’s rebirth with this second Creation. In the quatrefoil at left, God creates the first man.