This is a famous story, and is a good conclusion to this series of lessons on Jesus' miracles. In this story, we clearly see both the divinity and humanity of Jesus. He has the power over death, communicates directly with the Father, and we see a clear confession of Christ as the Messiah from Martha. But we also see his humanity as he has close friends (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus), feels great emotion for them, and is deeply moved by their sorrow.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were from Bethany, a town about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem on the other side of the Mount of Olives. Jesus was good friends with all of them, and he heard that Lazarus was sick. He told his disciples that they would go back to Judea (the region Jerusalem was in), but the disciples were concerned because Jews there had recently threatened his life. But Jesus ignored that warning and told them that Lazarus had died and he was going to do something about it. Thomas, one of the disciples, was resigned to the fact that if they went, Jesus would die, and so they would die with him.
When they were coming near to Bethany, Martha came to meet Jesus. Lazarus had died and was in his tomb for 4 days at this point. She was distraught and cried out to Jesus that if he had just been there, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus reassured her that he would rise again. Martha didn't know that he meant he would rise again that very same day: "I know he will rise again. This will happen when people are raised from the dead on the last day", she said (John 11:24).
Jesus then gave her one of the clearest claims of his divinity that we have in the Bible: "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if he dies. And those who live and believe in me will never die" (John 11:25-26). Martha affirmed her belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.
Then, Mary came to Jesus, and was just as distraught as Martha. We see his incredible love for these people as he is moved by their sorrow. He knew he was getting ready to raise Lazarus from the dead, but he was still compassionate towards Mary and Martha and identified with their grief.
When Jesus and the others came to the tomb, he instructed them to move the stone from in front of the grave. Martha protested that he had already been in there for 4 days, and surely he would stink by then! But Jesus told them that if they would just believe, they would see God's glory.
They moved the stone away, and out came Lazarus in his grave clothes. This was such an amazing miracle. There was no doubt Lazarus was dead. And there were many witnesses to Jesus being the one who raised him to life. That's why we see in the next chapter of John: "A crowd had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead. So they continued to tell everyone about what had happened. Many people went out to meet him. They had heard that he had done this miraculous sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, 'This isn’t getting us anywhere. Look how the whole world is following him!'" (John 12:17-19)
What are good reasons to cry?
In this story, we are going to learn about a time in the Bible when Jesus cried.
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or read directly from the Bible.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud John 11:1-11, 32-44
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?