This past Sunday at SojournKids, we learned about Lazarus from John 11:1-44. I loved telling the story to the kids, because it is so full of suspense. Jesus learns that his close friend, Lazarus, is sick, and then he vows “This will not end in death.” I asked the kids in our assembly what Jesus meant by that, and they said, “Jesus has power to heal. Jesus won’t let him die!” Were they right? In a plot twist that seems totally out of character, Jesus delays his journey to Lazarus’ home for two whole days. Then, while Jesus is delaying, Lazarus dies. When I got to that point in the passage the kids’ faces dropped (…except for the few kids that already knew the story, and they did a surprisingly good job not ruining the surprise).
When we got to Lazarus’ death, I asked the kids the same question that was on the lips of Mary and Martha and the other people present at Lazarus’ funeral. Why did Jesus delay? What could have kept him from coming and healing his friend? The answer is that by allowing Lazarus to die, Jesus taught Mary, Martha, and the others something that they couldn’t know any other way. Jesus said it like this: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Jesus has power over death. He is the resurrection and the life!
And that’s good news! It’s good news, because the Bible teaches us that we’re dead. Ephesians 2:1 tells us, “And you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” We don’t have power to obey God or even hear God’s voice on our own. When Lazarus was in the tomb, he couldn’t hear Jesus voice, because his ears and brain were dead. Jesus said, “Lazarus! Come out!” But that didn’t make any sense, because dead men can’t move their legs and feet. But the Bible tells us, “The dead man came out.” Jesus has power over death! He raised Lazarus, and he gives to life to dead sinners like you and me!
Read John 11:1-44 or Story #106 in The Gospel Story Bible then review these questions with your kids:
ASK: Who are the two women who greet Jesus when he finally arrives at the funeral? Mary and Martha
ASK: What does Jesus say about himself? I am the resurrection and the life?
ASK: Could Lazarus hear Jesus when Jesus called to him? No. Lazarus was dead, but when Jesus called, he came back to life.