Lazarus Raised from the Dead
TEXT: John 11:1-8, 14, 17, 38-48, 53
- supplemental scriptures
The students will be able to tell that one of Jesus' last miracles was to restore life to a friend who had died. They will know that He gives spiritual and eternal life to any who ask of Him.
- memory verse
Jesus said . . . I am the resurrection, and the life. — John 11:25
- bible lesson outline
Introduction: Open your session with the sad Mary and Martha stick puppet pattern described under In Class Activities. Ask your students how they think the two women pictured were feeling. Explain that they were very sad because their brother Lazarus had just died.
- Jesus loved Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus who had been sick and died.
- Lazarus had been in the grave four days. Jesus wept as He saw the sisters and the people weeping.
- Jesus told the people to roll the stone away from the mouth of the cave. They obeyed when He told them to believe and they would see the glory of God.
Climax: Jesus cried, "Lazarus, come forth." He came out in graveclothes, his face bound with a napkin. Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go."
Conclusion: Jesus performed a miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead. The Bible tells us that Jesus will raise His people from the dead on the resurrection morning.
Response: The students will be able to explain the events surrounding Jesus' restoration of Lazarus to life after four days in the grave. They should understand that He will give spiritual and eternal life to those who seek Him.
- background information
Christ performed a remarkable miracle when He raised Lazarus from the dead. However, He had on two previous occasions raised someone from death. In Luke 7:12-15 we read where Jesus restored life to a widow's son who had died and was being carried out of the city to be buried. Jesus stopped the funeral procession and said, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise" and the dead man sat up and spoke. On another occasion a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came to Jesus to beg Him to come and heal his daughter who was dying. Before Jesus could get to where the girl was, word came that she had already died. Jesus told the father not to fear, but to believe. Jesus came to where the girl was, took her by the hand and said, "Maid, arise." And she immediately arose.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He was in a location some distance away from Bethany, the home of Lazarus. He could have raised him from a distance even as He did the centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13). But Jesus purposely let Lazarus die that He might demonstrate the power and glory of God. Lazarus had been in the grave for four days when Jesus arrived. Because of the warm climate in Palestine, burials usually took place on the same day as death. It was customary to put bodies into the caves in the rock, either a natural cave or a vault cut into the rock. Lazarus had been placed in a cave with a stone closing the entrance. Jesus told them to take away the stone even though Martha indicated that decomposition must have already set in. Jesus told her to believe, and she would see the glory of God. They then removed the stone and Jesus called for Lazarus to come forth. Lazarus immediately appeared at. the entrance of the cave. He was bound hand and foot in graveclothes and Jesus told them to loose him and let him go. This marvelous miracle caused many of the Jews to believe on Jesus.
- in-class activities
- Use the paper bag puppet patterns provided for Lessons 14b or 29a, as Lazarus in telling the story.
- Use the reversible-face stick puppets showing Lazarus with eyes closed/open, Mary and Martha crying/happy, Jesus sad/happy and the crowd of people sad/happy (see Patterns).
- Use a tomb made from papier mache (possibly from your Easter lesson props). Wrap a doll in strips of cloth to show graveclothes. Let your students place small flowers by the tomb. Then, when Jesus calls Lazarus forth, let them unwrap the doll.
- Give each child a copy of the picture showing Mary and Martha standing in front of Lazarus' tomb (see Patterns). Let them color the picture while you tell the story. At the proper time, give them the sticker figures of Lazarus and Jesus, and the happy faces to paste on Mary and Martha. (The stickers are made by painting a light coat of glue made from a mixture of half Elmer's glue and half water on the back of the cut-out figures. Let dry completely. To apply, moisten lightly with water.)
- Give each child the fold-out picture which shows Lazarus lying inside the tomb with Jesus at the doorway (see Patterns). Help the children fold the picture on the proper lines so that Lazarus can stand up.
- Why didn't Jesus go to Bethany as soon as He heard Lazarus was sick?
- How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?
- Jesus told His disciples that He was glad He wasn't there when Lazarus died because He wanted them to believe. What do you think Jesus wanted them to believe?
- How would you have felt if you had been there when Lazarus came back to life?
- What is harder for Jesus to do, bring someone back to life or save someone from his sins? Why do you think that?
- Why were some people upset with Jesus for bringing Lazarus back to life?
- Why don't many people believe in Jesus today?
- pre-school suggestions
- Bring to class clothespins or dolls made from chenille straws. At the beginning of the lesson give each child a doll to hold—one representing Jesus, Mary, Martha, and several others that would represent their friends. Put the Lazarus doll in a box representing the tomb, and cover the opening with a paper rock. When Lazarus is taken from the tomb, the children may enjoy saying "Hi, Lazarus!"
- Simplify the story of Lazarus by starting out using pictures of Jesus and the special things He did for people. Tell your children that Lazarus got so sick that he finally didn't answer when spoken to or open his eyes. Don't elaborate on the burying, but rather that Jesus came, and when He spoke, Lazarus was all well again.
- Give children a copy of the folded praying hands (pattern given for Lesson 1e) as you talk about how the people who loved Lazarus prayed for him to get better.
- Make a milk carton tomb and the Lazarus-story finger puppets (see Patterns). Cut out the tomb opening in the side of a milk carton, as indicated on the pattern. Then cut the bottom out of the milk carton so it can be used for a puppet theater. Cover the top half of the carton in brown to represent the tomb. (Be sure to cut a hole in the brown paper and line it up with the hole in the carton.) Cover the bottom half of the carton in green. Make one each of the Jesus, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha finger puppets. Then make enough of the other friends so every child has one. Cut, fold, and glue or tape the puppets together. Let the children help you tell the story. (You should play the part of Lazarus and maybe even Jesus.)
- review ideas
Enlarge the reversible-face stick puppets listed as an In-Class activity, to a size appropriate for a review. Use them to illustrate the story as you tell it.
Use newspaper headlines as a springboard for your object lesson. Review a number of other miracles with pretend headlines. Then read the whole account of Lazarus from the paper.
Stage a mock interview with one of the mourners who was at Lazarus' grave when Jesus came.