In this lesson, we will learn about the death and resurrection of Lazarus found in John 11. This lesson relates to pre-teens and teens and by the end of this lesson, they should have learnt about the following:
- God’s timing is different to our own
- Jesus understands us
- Eternal life is only found in Jesus
BIBLE PASSAGE: John 11
MEMORY VERSE: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though they die, yet shall they live; and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, and they were among Jesus’ closest friends. The Bible says that Jesus loved this family.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are in Bethany when Lazarus is sick and almost dying. They send an urgent message to Jesus, who is preaching nearby. This is the last of the miracles that Jesus performs in John before facing the cross and His own resurrection.
KEY POINTS FROM THE PASSAGE
1. JESUS IS NEVER LATE (John 11:6)
We know that Jesus loved this family and had a special relationship with them. So, it seems really strange on first reading that when Jesus receives an urgent message, that Lazarus, the ‘one Jesus loved’, is ill, Jesus delays. How would you react if you received news that a loved one was dying? Most likely, you’d drop whatever you were doing to rush and be with them.
Jesus is about a day’s journey away from the home of Lazarus. Time is vital, yet, Jesus doesn’t just wait for a few hours but two days. Why? Doesn’t He care? Is he afraid of the religious leaders in Bethany?
Not at all! Jesus gives us three reasons
- Verse 4 ‘It is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’
- Verse 15 ‘that you might believe’
- Verse 42 ‘for the benefit of the people…that they may believe.’
That’s helpful to us as we know the end of the passage. But imagine how Mary and Martha felt. We can read the repetition of these words as they speak with Jesus “If you had only been here …,”
How many times have you raised the same? Have you ever had an issue with God’s timing? We easily become worried and scared and start doubting God and His timing. In the difficult and painful moments (and they were really painful for Mary, Martha and Jesus), we must remember that Jesus is never late. His timing is always perfect.
We must learn to trust God and His timing even when they don’t seem right to us. Our job is not to figure out when God will answer but to trust He will answer and do what is best.
2. JESUS CARES AND UNDERSTANDS (John 11:33-36)
When Jesus came to earth, He became fully man and fully God. God in the flesh. This means He experienced a wide range of emotions during His thirty-three years on earth. Some people think God is distant and doesn’t really understand how we feel. This simply is not true. Scripture tells how Jesus felt numerous times through His life.
Specifically here in John 11, we see:
- Jesus loved (v3 & v36)
- He was deeply moved (v33)
- He wept (v35)
At other times we see Jesus with joy, sorrow, exhaustion, anger, disgust, amazement, compassion, frustration, agony, alone and many more. Some scholars have recorded up to forty different emotional words concerning Jesus.
Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that when we come to Jesus, we come to a High Priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, for He was in every respect tempted as we are, yet without sin.
This last point is essential. Jesus, while experiencing human emotions, did not allow them to lead Him into sin. Jesus didn’t have any bad reactions, so He didn’t experience envy, sinful passions, or unrighteous of anger. We, too, should pray that in emotional moments, we are led by God’s will and Scripture, not by our emotions.
3. JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE (John 11:25)
Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”. This is the fifth of the seven “I am” statements of Jesus.
We have thought of Jesus’ human nature displayed through His emotions, but here we see a clear statement of His divine nature. He not only gives life, but He is Life.
We can experience eternal life as believers in Jesus because we are safe and secure in Him (1 Corinthians 15:53-57).
In this chapter, Jesus doesn’t simply claim to be the Resurrection and the Life; He proves it. He walked to the grave where Lazarus had been dead for four days and called Him out. He gives Lazarus life again. Jesus demonstrated it again around one month later when He died on the cross and rose again three days later.
Jesus alone can grant eternal life. With all the advancements in technology and medicine, the mortality rate is still 100%, but in Jesus, we can be safe and secure for all eternity “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28.
As Dwight L. Moody wrote, “Someday you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.”
That is the promise to all who are in Jesus.
4. REMOVE THE GRAVE CLOTHES (John 11:44)
Jesus called Lazarus from the grave and gave him life again. Jesus had freed him from death. But there was a second step. Charles Spurgeon commented that Lazarus was “wholly raised, but not wholly freed.”
Lazarus was still bound and wrapped in his stinking grave clothes. Jesus commands that he that those around him free Lazarus from them.
When we put our trust in Jesus, we are, at that moment, a new creation. Like Lazarus, we are alive. Yet often, we are still struggling with our old grave clothes. They may be deeply ingrained habits, addictions or thoughts that hinder our walk with God. Ephesians 4:22-24 talks about putting off your old self and putting on the new self. Sanctification takes time, and like those around Lazarus helped him, as the church, we should help each other to walk Holy lives that honour God.
YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR LAZARUS
UNWRAP HIM AND SET HIM FREE
- Split children into teams or pairs.
- Select one player from each team to be ‘Lazarus’.
- On “go,” have each team use one roll of toilet paper to wrap Lazarus. The first team to finish win 1 point.
- Lazarus should stand still while the rest of the team move across the room.
- When all teams are finished. Shout “Lazarus come forth.”
- The player wrapped in the paper should make their way to their team. The first one to arrive wins one point.
- Next shout ‘unwrap him’. The first team to remove all the paper wins a point.
LISTEN FOR YOUR NAME
- Jesus called Lazarus by name, and he responded.
- Pick one player to sit in front of everyone else but facing away from them.
- The other players should take turns to call the player in front by name, but they should try to disguise their voice. A leader can point to the child to call out to keep the order random.
- The player in front should try to guess who is calling them.
- Once they guess correctly, they swap places with that player.
GUESS THE IMAGE
- Find some close-up photos of objects which are difficult to guess.
- There is also a worksheet later in this pack you could use.
- Have a quiz to see if the children can work out what they show. Talk about how God see’s the big picture.