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Sunday School Lesson: Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

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Use this free Sunday school lesson with kids from FaithWeaver Now to help children have hope in Jesus. Find more great Sunday school lessons to help kids grow in their faith.

Young children are more interested in the present than they are in the abstract future. As you touch on the subject of death in this lesson, kids may be familiar with the topic through the death of their pets or family members. Use this lesson to assure them that because of Jesus, death is never final for those who believe in him.

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Scripture: John 11:1-45

BIBLE POINT: Jesus gives us hope.

KEY VERSE: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’ ” (John 11:25).

 

Bible Background
John 11:1-45: Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

Who Was Jesus to Lazarus—and the Disciples?

In the Bible, Lazarus is mentioned only in John 11 and 12. However, his sisters, Mary and Martha, are mentioned several times, and Jesus visited their house frequently. In addition, John 11:3 speaks of Lazarus as the one Jesus loved; John 11:5 shows that Jesus loved Mary and Martha as well. So we can assume that Lazarus was closer to Jesus than the scarcity of references to him would show.

Jesus had predicted the raising of Lazarus in John 11:4, so it must’ve surprised the disciples when two days later Jesus said Lazarus was dead. When Jesus said they would then go to Lazarus in Bethany near Jerusalem, even though the religious leaders in Jerusalem were out to get Jesus, the disciples must’ve suspected that something dramatic was going to happen!

Who Is Jesus to Death—and to Us?

Martha had trouble fully understanding what Jesus was capable of doing, despite her great faith in him. Jesus’ comment to her in John 11:25 reveals he was trying to teach people that he was more than a great teacher and healer. Indeed, he has power over death!

We don’t know why Jesus wept, knowing that Lazarus was going to be raised. Some have suggested that he was agonizing over the unbelief of the crowd. But more likely he was hurting with his friends—feeling the pain they were experiencing. After Lazarus was raised, some who were there put their faith in Jesus. But others were determined to cause trouble for Jesus and reported to the Pharisees what Jesus had done (John 11:46).

The Jesus Connection

In this passage, Jesus utters words often repeated at a funeral: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Never are these words more comforting for Jesus-followers than at the loss of a family member. The hope these words can bring!

What about your life? Have you ever felt as if time was just passing by? That you’re alive but not really living or thriving? Those who have felt the slowness of the clock or calendar also understand the hopelessness of feeling “dead” inside. But Jesus has made it possible for people to find new life and hope, even in the midst of hopelessness. Consider how Jesus’ gift of eternal life still changes you, and take a moment to thank him for it. You can write your prayer here.

THE LESSON

1. Getting Started: Back to Life

Supplies:

lightweight object, CD player, Christian music

What You’ll Do

Welcome kids warmly as they arrive, and ask them how their week went. Then have kids sit in a circle on the floor.

Say: Let’s start today with a fun game! Who knows how to play Hot Potato? Pause as kids respond. Well, this game is a lot like Hot Potato, but there’s one difference. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Choose a lightweight object, such as a small toy or book, to be used as the “potato.” Cue “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25) (track 7 on the CD).

Give the small object to a child in the circle, and explain that when you start the song on the CD, the children should quickly pass the object around the circle. Tell kids that when you pause the CD, whoever is holding the object is out of the game and must scoot back from the circle while the game continues.

Talk With Kids

Lead kids in this discussion.

Ask:

  • What was it like knowing that although you were “out,” there was hope of getting back in the game?
  • Tell about a time something seemed hopeless, but worked out well.
  • What are some things in which you find hope?

Say: At Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus came back to life. He’d been crucified and put in a tomb, but he came back to life! And when we believe in Jesus, we can have hope of living with him in heaven forever, even though our bodies may die! Today we’ll learn about how > JESUS GIVES US HOPE. In today’s Bible passage, we’ll meet a man whose body died—but because of Jesus, that wasn’t the end of things! Let’s find out what happened.

2. Bible Exploration: Lazarus Lives!

Supplies:

  • Bibles

What You’ll Do

Open your Bible to John 11:1-45, and show kids the passage. If kids have their own Bibles, help them find the passage.

Say: Today’s Bible passage is about a man named Lazarus. The Bible says that Lazarus was sick. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, took care of him when he was sick. Let’s pretend for a minute that we’re sick.

Have kids form pairs, and let kids take turns pretending to care for their “sick” partners. After a minute, gather kids back together.

Say: Even though Mary and Martha took good care of their brother, Lazarus, he kept getting sicker and sicker. So they sent someone to tell Jesus that his good friend Lazarus was very sick.

The Bible tells us that Jesus loved Lazarus and Martha and Mary. But Jesus didn’t hurry to Lazarus’ house to heal him. Instead, Jesus said that what was happening would show how great God is. So Jesus waited two days to go see Lazarus.

Have kids sit in silence for a moment to experience the waiting for Jesus.

While Mary and Martha were waiting for Jesus to arrive, Lazarus got so sick that he died. But that wasn’t the end! 

Say: When Jesus was getting near the town where Mary and Martha lived, Martha ran out to meet him. Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

And then Jesus said something amazing to Martha. In fact, what Jesus said is our Key Verse, and it’s recorded in John 11:25: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’ ” Then he asked Martha if she believed him, and Martha said yes.

Martha said, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” Martha hurried back to her house and told her sister that Jesus had come. When Mary heard that Jesus was near, she ran out to meet him. She fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw Mary and the other Jews who had come along with her were crying, he was deeply troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Say: Jesus cried as they led him to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid. When they got to the tomb, Jesus told them to move the stone away from the door of the tomb. “But, Lord,” Martha said, “by this time the tomb might smell bad because he has been dead for four days.”

Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone, and Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed. Then he said in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

Say: Lazarus came out with his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

 

Talk With Kids

Lead kids in this discussion.

Ask:

  • How did Lazarus, Mary, and Martha experience hope in today’s Bible passage?
  • In what ways do you have hope in Jesus?
  • What can we do to experience more hope in our lives through Jesus?

Say: Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after he died. And Jesus promises that if we believe in him, we’ll have life, even when we die. That means that because we believe in Jesus, we can live with him forever in heaven, even though our bodies may die. That’s important news! For people who know Jesus, JESUS GIVES US HOPE.

Now let’s see what this good news means for our lives today!

3. New Life for Me

Supplies:

  • construction paper
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • scissors

What You’ll Do

Say: Let’s make something to help us remember that if we answer Jesus’ question, “Do you believe this?” as Martha did, we can have new life, too! Martha said she believed that Jesus is the Son of God. If we believe that, too, we can have new life forever with Jesus!

When a butterfly comes out of its cocoon, we could say that it has new life because then it’s beautiful and free. That’s sort of how it’ll be when we get new life in heaven because we believe in Jesus. We’ll be happy and free forever. Let’s make butterflies to remind us that JESUS GIVES US HOPE.

Give each child a sheet of colored construction paper and a pencil, and set out the scissors. Show kids each how to trace their two hands on the paper in such a way that the fingers are pointing away from one another, with their thumbs aligned. They can color the handprints to look like butterfly wings, write their names on the butterflies, and then cut them out. Encourage children to write on their butterflies the name of someone they will tell about new life in Jesus this week.

Say: Use this butterfly to remember that just as a butterfly has new life when it emerges from its cocoon, so will we have new life when we go to heaven. You can make your own butterfly come to life by rolling up your paper with the blank side out. Pause for kids to do this. Now unroll it to let your butterfly come out of the cocoon! Pause.

Let’s sing the song we’ve been listening to, which is our Key Verse song, to understand more about the hope we have in Jesus.

 

Talk With Kids

Lead kids in this discussion.

Ask:

  • How are butterflies symbols of hope?
  • How are we like or unlike butterflies when we will experience new life after death?
  • What do you hope will happen when you live forever with Jesus?

Say: In a way, when Lazarus stepped out of the tomb to new life, he was sort of like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. However, there’s a lot more meaning to this passage. Eventually, Lazarus had to die again, even though the Bible doesn’t tell us about that. But death no doubt was still defeated by Jesus’ power, allowing us all to live forever with Jesus. It is in that power that JESUS GIVES US HOPE.

4: Daily Challenges

What You’ll Do

Say: Let’s think about how we can remember that JESUS GIVES US HOPE this week.

Have kids choose one or more of these three options:

    • Read John 11:25 with a parent, and talk about hope. What does your parent hope for?
    • Give your butterfly to the person whose name you wrote on it, and tell that person what it means to have new life in Jesus.
  • Look for symbols that remind you of hope this week, like trees and butterflies. When you see them, ask God to fill you up with his hope.

Make sure you choose a Daily Challenge as well, and tell the kids what you chose. Kids will be more inclined to follow through on their commitments when they see you doing the same.

Talk With Kids

Ask:

  • What’s a practical way you’re going to do your Daily Challenge? Share a time, a place, or other ideas. Allow time.

Say: Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life from death showed that death does not have the final word when we believe that JESUS GIVES US HOPE. Let’s follow through on our Daily Challenges this week to demonstrate our hope in Jesus.

 

FWNAd

Sunday School Lesson: Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this easy to teach bible lesson. I have searched a lot of websites for this lesson to help the children understand John 11:25. This one is perfect. Thank you

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