Sunday, July 24, 2022


Background Scripture: John 11:17-44

Lesson Scripture: John 11: 17-27, 38-44

Jesus said to her “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:

I. State the different ways people respond to the loss of their loved ones;

II.Discuss Jesus’ disposition to the death of Lazarus and the response of Martha;

III. Make resolutions to play vital roles in the fulfilment of God’s promises in their lives.

Philosophers, Scientists and some atheists have researched and concluded that there is no life after death. According to them, their conclusion is because of the complexity of human nature, and that death is the end of man. They fail to acknowledge that God has power over life and death. Sometimes, some people fall into coma (a state of being unconscious or lifeless) for a long time only for them to come alive again. Particularly, an interesting story in one of our devotionals is about a young man who was involved in a ghastly motor accident and became unconscious for a long time. He was left with a traumatic brain injury according to the diagnosis and remained unresponsive for some weeks. The doctor explained that his brain sank partly into his spinal canal and no one survives the state. He was only left with the help of life support, which was meant to sustain him temporarily before he finally dies. One afternoon, his mother observed that he made a sign that the life support should be removed and then he struggled breathe on his own. As days went by, his eyes fluttered and he began to make muttering noises, trying to talk.

Finally, here covered miraculously from the state of coma caused by the brain damage. The story of this young man is quite different from the case of Lazarus who actually died and was buried for four days before Jesus brought him back to life.

The Word of God has power to resurrect. To resurrect also means to revive, to bring back to life or raise someone from death. Today’s lesson centres on how Jesus Christ brought Lazarus back to life after he was dead for four days. It was recorded in the Bible that Jesus had brought the dead back to life on other occasions (Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56). However, Jesus purposely delayed His response to Mary and Martha for two days so that God’s name will be glorified. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body had begun to decompose. But God demonstrated His power. When Jesus spoke the Word, Lazarus came back to life and people praised the name of God. The raising of Lazarus back to life is a testimony of Jesus’ power over everything, even death.


A. Jesus’ Words of Comfort. John 11:17-27
Jesus was preaching in the villages beyond Jordan probably in Perea when He received the news that Lazarus, His friend was sick. Surprisingly, He did not leave immediately rather, He sent a comforting message to Mary and Martha, saying, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4). In other words, He predicted the rising of Lazarus back to life. However, it should be noted that Jesus did not say Lazarus would not die but that the sickness will bring glory to God and Jesus Himself (John 1:14). Ironically, before Jesus arrived Bethany where Lazarus and his two sisters lived, Lazarus had died. He was buried for four days and his body had begun to decompose. According to the Jewish custom, many Judean sympathisers had come to comfort the bereaved family. When Jesus got to the home of Lazarus, Martha went and said to Him, “If you have been here, Lord, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for” (vv. 20-22). Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise to life.” Martha did not fully understand what Jesus meant. She thought Jesus was talking about the resurrection on the last day. Jesus explained further in verse 25 and said to her “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will never die.” Martha’s response was in the affirmative that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come to the world (v.27).

People react to the death of their loved ones in different ways. Some weep and question God about His existence and the power to sustain life as if there is no hope of resurrection. Others mourn but with the understanding that the dead will rise on the last day like Martha believed but with the pain of temporary separation. Nevertheless, Jesus’ response to Martha’s statement in verse 25 shows that Jesus has power over life and death. He is life and gives life to those who believe. This is an assurance that death will never triumph over Him (I Corinthians 15:54). In a nutshell, whoever believes in Jesus has life that death cannot conquer Martha’s unwavering faith in Jesus as having power to save is worth mentioning. She believed that anyone who lives and believes in Jesus will never die. Christians, especially those who are bereaved should be encouraged with the words of Jesus that He is the resurrection and life and those who believe in Him will never die. In other words, there is hope of reunion with their loved ones on the last day.

1. Discuss the meaning of Jesus’ response to Martha’s statement in the light of the passage.

2. Explain how best Christians should respond to the loss of a loved one.

B. Lazarus is Raised from the Dead. John 11:38-44

Jesus Christ is loving, caring and compassionate. Mary’s action and statement in verse 32 touched the heart of Jesus. He was deeply moved with compassion and went straight to the tomb where Lazarus was buried. Tombs at that time were caves in the limestone rock of a hillside. After burial, a large stone was rolled across the entrance to the tomb. However, in verse 39, Jesus instructed that the stone be removed but Martha replied emphatically, “By this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days” meaning there may be no remedy. Probably she had forgotten Jesus’ statement of assurance that her brother Lazarus will rise to life again (v.23). Again, Jesus Christ

reassured her and said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Then He looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you listen to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” (vv. 4142)Thereafter, He cried in a loud voice and said, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ and immediately Lazarus came out, with his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Then Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:43-44).

Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead is one of the familiar miracles of raising the dead back to life in the Bible. According to verse 45, many of the people who came to mourn with Mary and Martha over the death of their brother believed in Jesus after the miracle (v. 45). Of course, it was a confirmation of Jesus’ declaration that Lazarus’ sickness will not lead to death but through it the Son of God would be glorific (John 11:4). On other occasions, Jesus had brought back the dead to life like the case of the widow’s son and Jarius daughter (Luke 7:11-17; 8:49-56). It is therefore obvious that the raising of Lazarus from death is another greater testimony of Jesus’ power over death. The miracle was a demonstration of Jesus’ identify as the Son of God and the Messiah. Christians should respond to acts of miracles by faith, giving glory to God and sharing the testimonies to strengthen the faith of others.

1. What does the miracle of raising Lazarus to life teach about Jesus?
2. What should be the response of Christians when consoling those who lost their loved ones?

Commitment: Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to God that you will vessel to be used by the Word.

Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity: Encourage class members to write at least five lessons they have learnt from the dialogue between Jesus and Martha to the time Lazarus was raised from dead. They should pray for grace to trust more in Jesus even at difficult times.

Prayer Points:
▪︎ Pray that God will give you the grace to read, meditate and memorise the Scriptures.
▪︎ Pray that you will not be found wanting in interacting with God’s world
▪︎ Make a commitment to live a life that is devoid of sin and iniquity

Take Home: Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson.

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