JESUS RAISES LAZARUS
John 11:25, ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live...
JOHN 11:1-6, NIrV
1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 2 Mary would later pour perfume on the Lord. She would also wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick in bed. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus. “Lord,” they told him, “the one you love is sick.”
4 When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory. God’s Son will receive glory because of it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So after he heard Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.
With so many stories about Jesus using his Son-of-God power to do amazing miracles, it’s easy to forget he was human, too! And like us, Jesus had friends. One of his buddies, Lazarus, became so sick that his sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus to let him know. After reading their note, did Jesus rush right over to help his friend? No! Instead, he said something strange: “This sickness won’t end in death. And God and his Son will receive glory because of it.” Here’s what Jesus meant: Lazarus’ sickness was going to be a chance for everyone to learn just how great God and his Son were.
+ Why do you think Lazarus’ sisters sent their message to Jesus?
+ How many days did Jesus wait before going to see Lazarus? (vs. 6)
JOHN 11:11-15, NIrV
11 After he said this, Jesus went on speaking to them. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,” he said. “But I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking about the death of Lazarus. But his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your benefit, I am glad I was not there. Now you will believe. But let us go to him.”
No one enjoys talking about a sad thing like death. In Jesus’ time, people said someone had “fallen asleep” as a gentler way of saying they had died. But when Jesus said, “Lazarus has fallen asleep,” his disciples were confused. They thought sick Lazarus was taking a nap and would wake up feeling better! So Jesus had to make it clear for his clueless disciples: Lazarus wasn’t dreaming; he was dead! Strangely, Jesus said he was actually glad he wasn’t there to save sick Lazarus from death. Why? Because now his disciples would have the chance to see Jesus “wake up” Lazarus from the dead!
+ When Jesus said he was going to wake up Lazarus, what did he mean? (vs. 11)
+ Why was Jesus glad that he was not there to keep Lazarus from dying? (vs. 15)
JOHN 11:17-22, NIrV
17 When Jesus arrived, he found out that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. 19 Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary. They had come to comfort them because their brother was dead. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him. But Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “I wish you had been here! Then my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask for.”
By the time Jesus made it to Lazarus' home town of Bethany, his friend had been dead and buried for four days! He was met by Martha, one of Lazarus’ two sisters. Martha didn’t waste any time letting Jesus know exactly how she felt: “If you’d been here, Lazarus wouldn’t have died!” With his Son-of-God miracle power, she knew Jesus could have kept her brother from dying. But even though her brother was dead and wrapped up like a mummy in a tomb, Martha still held onto a tiny bit of hope. If Jesus asked God to do anything, no matter what, Martha believed God would do it!
+ Who was Lazarus’ other sister? What did she do when Martha went to Jesus? (vs. 20)
+ How do you think Martha felt about Jesus taking so long to come to Bethany? (vs. 21)
JOHN 11:23-27, NIRV
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again. This will happen when people are raised from the dead on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die. 26 And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied. “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God. I believe that you are the one who is supposed to come into the world.”
Martha believed God had the power to raise his people back to life after they died. However, she thought this wouldn't happen until the far-off future, a special time called "the last day." But Jesus had big news for her. Martha wouldn't have to wait until the "last day" to see Lazarus again; he was waking up today! Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." With these words, he was saying, “I’m the one who will resurrect (raise) the dead on the last day.” Then, Jesus made an amazing promise: everyone who believes in him will be raised on the last day. “Anyone” includes you and me!
+ What promise did Jesus make to anyone who would believe in him? (vs. 25)
+ When Jesus said, “Do you believe this?”, what was Martha’s answer? (vs. 27)
JOHN 11:28-37, NIRV
28 After she said this, she went back home. She called her sister Mary to one side to talk to her. “The Teacher is here,” Martha said. “He is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Jesus had not yet entered the village. He was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 Some Jews had been comforting Mary in the house. They noticed how quickly she got up and went out. So they followed her. They thought she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 Mary reached the place where Jesus was. When she saw him, she fell at his feet. She said, “Lord, I wish you had been here! Then my brother would not have died.”
33 Jesus saw her crying. He saw that the Jews who had come along with her were crying also. His spirit became very sad, and he was troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how much he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “He opened the eyes of the blind man. Couldn’t he have kept this man from dying?”
Did you know that you just read the shortest verse in the whole Bible? Weighing in at two tiny words, John 11:35 comes in first place for shortness! But these two words, “Jesus wept,” actually teach us a lot. Why did Jesus weep (or cry tears)? For the same reason anyone cries: he felt sad! All around him, people were crying. Lazarus’ sister Mary was crying. A group of her friends were crying. And, when Jesus saw the place were Lazarus was buried, he cried, too! Though he had the power to raise the dead, Jesus’ heart was still moved by the sadness that death and dying brings.
+ How does what Mary said to Jesus compare to what Martha said? (vs. 21 and 32)
+ What did the people in the crowd wonder about Jesus? (vs. 37)
JOHN 11:38-45, NIRV
38 Once more Jesus felt very sad. He came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone in front of the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad smell. Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up. He said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. 42 I know that you always hear me. But I said this for the benefit of the people standing here. I said it so they will believe that you sent me.”
43 Then Jesus called in a loud voice. He said, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of linen. A cloth was around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.”
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did. So they believed in him.
When Lazarus died 2,000 years ago, they didn’t have all the fancy medical machines we have today. They didn’t have a heartbeat monitor to tell them when a person actually died. Because of that, they sometimes made mistakes. They thought a person was dead when they really weren’t. Sometimes after a few hours or even a whole day, a seriously sick person woke up and made everyone realize their mistake!
But there was no doubt that Lazarus was dead. He hadn’t been dead for one day... or two days... or even three days! He’d been dead for four whole days. Lazarus was not waking up! His tomb was starting to smell pretty bad as his dead body began to break down and decay. That’s why Martha thought Jesus’ plan to open up Lazarus’ tomb wasn’t such a good idea. I’m sure she was ready to pinch her nose!
But Jesus’ plan wasn’t to let the smell out; it was to let Lazarus out! After the stone was rolled away, Jesus spoke to God in prayer, then spoke to the dead man. And amazingly, the dead man answered! Well, he didn’t really “answer” because his hands, feet, and face were wrapped up like a mummy. But he did walk (or maybe sort of waddled) his way out of the tomb, completely alive and not smelly at all!
Do you remember what Jesus said to Martha? “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if he dies.” While that promise was wonderful to think about, it was incredibly hard to believe! When things die, they stay dead. That’s just how the world works! But Jesus’ incredibly-hard-to-believe promise was now much easier for Martha and the people to believe. They had just seen four-day-dead Lazarus waddle his way out of the tomb like a mummy! After seeing this amazing miracle, what does the book of John say many of the people did? They believed in Jesus!
The promise Jesus spoke to Martha wasn’t only for her. Jesus said that anyone who believes in him will live again, even if they die – anyone! Did he mean that four days after you and I die, we’ll waddle out of the grave like mummies? Nope. Actually, what Jesus has planned for us is way better!
Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. The punishment we earned for breaking God’s commands was a forever, fiery death. Jesus saved us from that disaster by being punished instead of us. He was nailed to a cross to die in our place.
But on the third day after his death, Jesus walked right out of his tomb, alive again, just like Lazarus! And one day, Jesus has promised to come back to our planet. This is the “last day” that Martha talked about. On that “last day,” Jesus will resurrect (raise) anyone who has ever believed in him, no matter if they’ve been dead four days or 4000 years. And when he does, we’ll live forever with him in his perfect kingdom!
+ What did many of the people do after seeing Jesus raise Lazarus? (vs. 45)
+ If we believe the good news of Jesus, what will happen to us on the “last day”?