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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

John 11:1-44; John 12:17-19

Story Summary

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 You Will Need

Resource Sheet

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

What are good reasons to cry?

In this story, we are going to learn about a time in the Bible when Jesus cried.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

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.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: John 11:1-11, 32-44

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who were Jesus' close friends that we learn about in this story? (Martha, Mary, and Lazarus)
  • Where did they live? (Bethany, about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem)
  • What happened to Lazarus? (he became sick and died)
  • What did Jesus do when he found out Lazarus was sick? (he stayed where he was for 2 more days)
  • Why didn't his disciples want Jesus to go back to Judea? (Jews there were threatening to kill him)
  • What did Martha and Mary tell Jesus when they saw him after Lazarus had died? (that if he was just there, their brother wouldn't have died)
  • What did Jesus do when he came to the tomb? (he cried, because of how sad Mary and Martha were)
  • Why didn't Martha want them to take the stone away from in front of Lazarus' tomb? (because he had been in the tomb for 4 days, and he would certainly smell by then!)
  • What happened after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? (everyone who saw it told everyone they met about it, and a great crowd began to follow him)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Jesus told Martha that he is the Resurrection and the Life - and that anyone who believes in him will never die.
  • Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that he will give you eternal life with him in heaven?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Reinforcement Activities

Jesus Wept

Scripture Jesus wept. John 11:35

Supplies Jesus Wept Craft Prinout, q-tips, light blue paint

  • The fact that Jesus was weeping for his friends reveals his humanity.
  • Jesus...our Savior... was weeping because his friends were sad. He knew Lazarus was going to live. Jesus was hurting because His friends were hurting. He feels the same way when we are hurting or sad.
  • Print a copy of Jesus for each child.
  • Have students dip a q-tip in light blue paint.
  • Paint tear drops on Jesus' face.

Strips of Linen Race

Scripture The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:44

Supplies strips of cloth, bandage roll, or toilet paper

  • Divide class into two teams.
  • Choose one person from each team to be Lazarus.
  • Each team must wrap Lazarus in strips of cloth.
  • The first team to get Lazarus fully wrapped, wins.
  • Play again, this time, have each team switch Lazarus and see who can unbind him the fastest.

Prayer Time

Scripture So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." John 11:41-42

  • Prior to Jesus calling for Lazarus, Jesus prayed to his father in heaven. He did this as an example to those nearby.
  • Teach the students that prayer is talking to God. Jesus thanked his father for hearing him.
  • During 9 of the Old Testament lessons, beginning with the Elijah & Elisha lesson, your students should have learned the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
  • The Lord's prayer is Jesus' model prayer for us.
  • If you have not been working on the memory verses, now is a good time to begin.
  • Challenge your students to recite the Lord's prayer or have them begin learning it at home. Give them a reward when they can recite it completely.
  • Gather your students and have them take turns saying a short prayer.
  • Encourage them to pray out loud or provide several minutes of quiet time. Remind them their prayer does not have to be eloquent or elaborate.
  • Spend time each class period focusing on praying to God.

Lazarus in the Tomb

Scripture When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44

Supplies paper plates, card stock, crayons, strips of cloth, person cut out (on card stock)

  • Cut a circle out of one paper plate.
  • Cut a circle out of the card stock, just larger than your plate circle.
  • Attach to plate with a brad, this will allow the circle to cover the hole.
  • Staple paper plates together to make a tomb.
  • Have students color a picture of Lazarus (using the person cut out on card stock), cover with strips of cloth, and place inside the paper plate "tomb".
  • Have the students say, "Lazarus, come out!", move the rock, and bring Lazarus out of the tomb.
Lazarus in the Tomb Example

Jesus Weeps Balloon Game

Heads up! This activity is best done outside or over a container that can catch the water, in case of a balloon break.

Scripture Jesus Wept. John 11:35

Supplies Balloons (not water balloons), water, straight pins, cups

  • Fill balloons with equal amounts of water.
  • Draw a face on the balloon with a permanent marker.
  • As game begins, use a straight pin to poke a small hole under one of the eyes in the balloon.
  • Poking two holes may cause the balloon break.
  • Try and catch Jesus' tears in the cup.
  • The student that gets the most water in their cup, wins.
Jesus Weeps Balloon Game Example

Craft Stick Mummy

Heads up! It might be faster to use hot glue to make the popsicle base ahead of time.

Scripture he man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:44

Supplies craft sticks, googly eyes, strips of white cloth or toilet paper rolls

  • Follow instructions to make a Lazarus wrapped in linen out of craft sticks.
  • For a simpler version, wrap a toilet paper roll with strips of white cloth and add googly eyes.