In the Old Testament, God described Himself as the Lord who heals. In His mercy, God gave the prophets Elijah and Elisha power to heal diseases and raise the dead. Jesus, as the only Son of God, is greater than the prophets. Jesus not only healed the sick and raised the dead, He also defeated sin and death once and for all when He died on the cross and rose again. In Unit 24, kids will study stories of times Jesus healed people, physically and spiritually. Jesus will return one day and eliminate sickness and suffering forever.
Session 4 presents the story “Jesus Raised Lazarus” from John 11:1-7,17-44. Jesus received word that His friend Lazarus was sick. Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. They lived in the town of Bethany, which was about two miles away from Jerusalem. Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus, likely expecting Him to come right away.
Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; yet He stayed where He was, and Lazarus died. Why would Jesus do such a thing? Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness was “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). He said that He was glad He wasn’t there when Lazarus died so that the disciples may believe. (John 11:15) Jesus’ timing is always perfect, and He acts or doesn’t act so that God will be glorified.
By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha went to meet Jesus. She said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” Jesus had shown His power to heal people who were sick. Even still, she believed He could do a miracle.
Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Jesus is the source of life—eternal life that cannot be destroyed by death. Believers do not need to fear death because physical death is not the end. (See John 11:25-26.) Jesus endured death for us so that when we die and are absent from our physical bodies, our souls are with the Lord. (See 2 Cor. 5:8.)
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. His messiahship was clearly on display, and it was Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God that would lead to His death on the cross. Jesus interrupted Lazarus’s funeral knowing His would soon follow.
Emphasize to kids that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He showed that He has power over death. Jesus died on the cross for our sin and rose from the dead. He gives eternal life to those who trust in Him.
How does this story give you comfort concerning death? Does anything in this story surprise you or confuse you? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the August 27, 2017 session (Unit 24, Session 4) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Alyssa Jones has been a content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids since 2011. She lives with her husband, Nate, and their two kids in Nashville, TN. Alyssa volunteers with the kids’ ministry at Refuge Church, a church plant in Franklin, TN.