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Jesus Gives Life

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JESUS GIVES LIFE   

Scripture: John 11:1–45; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

Memory verse: John 11:25–26
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die."

Lead—In

Start a discussion concerning funerals. Be sensitive to students who have had little or no experience with death, as well as those who may have recently experienced the death of a loved one. Throughout the discussion, emphasise that Jesus gives victory over death.

Ask the students the following questions: Are people usually laughing and happy at funerals? Why or why not? What is the purpose of funerals? Will the person who died stay buried forever? Explain that funerals are usually solemn and sad. It is painful when someone you love dies. That is one of the reasons we have funerals—to honour the person who has died and to comfort the family and friends of that person.

Explain that part of this study takes place at a type of funeral in Bible times. Many things at this particular funeral turned out to be different than planned. Jesus arrived at this funeral and something exciting happened. Through this experience, Jesus taught us an important lesson and gave us hope to help us through any sad times we may encounter.

Hearing God’s Word

Many events in the Bible have double meanings. They are both historical accounts of things that really happened, and lessons that make a special point. The account recorded in John 11:1–45 includes several lessons that apply to us today.

Lazarus is Sick

(Have volunteers each read a verse from John 11:1–6.) Lazarus was Jesus’ close friend. So were Lazarus’ two sisters, Mary and Martha. Since Jesus was their friend, it was not strange that Mary and Martha contacted Him when Lazarus got sick. They knew Jesus well. They were comfortable around Him, and they knew He had power to heal their brother.

Jesus Delays Going to Bethany

Ask: “When Jesus got the message, what was His reaction? Why did He not hurry to Bethany and heal Lazarus?” (Allow discussion.)

John 11:4 quotes Jesus as saying Lazarus’ sickness “will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory”. If you read ahead, you know Lazarus did die.

Ask: “Does this mean Jesus was mistaken?” (Allow discussion.)

Jesus was commenting on the overall purpose of the event. Lazarus’ death would bring glory to God.

God waits for the proper time to act in our best interests. He sees the whole picture. We cannot often do that. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters but He had a greater purpose for waiting a couple of days to go to Bethany.

Ask: “What is the greatest purpose of every miracle?” (Allow responses.)

Miracles bring glory to God. Our purpose as Christians should be the same: to bring glory to God. If we trust God, we know all things will line up with God’s purpose for us. He will be glorified through the results.

Jesus told His disciples, “Our friend, Lazarus is asleep. I am going to Bethany to wake him up.”

“Well, then, he must be OK if he is sleeping,” the disciples said. They did not understand what Jesus meant. They thought Jesus was speaking of natural sleep.

Ask: “What did Jesus mean?” (Allow discussion.)

Jesus had to explain to them clearly: Lazarus was dead. Then He went on to explain that He had not gone to Bethany earlier because He wanted to increase the disciples’ faith in Him. (Ask a student to read John 11:15.)

Martha Goes to Meet Jesus

When Martha heard Jesus was coming, she ran out to meet Him. What did she say? (Ask a student to read John 11:21, 22.)

Ask: “Do you think Martha was accusing Jesus? If she was, why did she say what she did in verse 22?” (Allow discussion.)

Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise again. Martha agreed. She said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (verse 24). She was thinking of a time in the future. However, Jesus was not talking about just the last day.

The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus’ answer given in John 11:25, 26, is our memory verse today. (Instruct the class to say it in unison.)

“Do you believe this?” Jesus asked. “Yes, Lord,” Martha replied. “I believe.”

Ask: “What two things does Jesus say He is in this verse?” (Focus on the first phrase of the memory verse.)

(Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.) As the “Resurrection,” Jesus has power over death. When Jesus returns for His followers, the bodies of all believers who have died throughout the years will be raised to new life with Jesus. They will be instantly resurrected from their places of burial from all over the world. Jesus would soon show His resurrection power to Mary, Martha, and His disciples by raising Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus is also the “Life.” This means that on the day when all believers are caught up to meet Jesus in the air, we who are alive at that time will also go to live with Jesus forever! We will never experience physical death. So whether we have died or we are alive when Jesus comes, we will live with Him through eternity if He is our Lord and Saviour. That is a wonderful thing to know.

Jesus’ followers had trouble grasping this wonderful promise. They still were not sure who Jesus was and what He could do.

Mary Mourns for Lazarus

Mary, Martha’s sister, had remained in the house when Jesus came. When she heard Jesus was asking for her, she hurried out of the village to meet Him. She fell at Jesus’ feet and cried over her brother’s death. Other mourners had come too, crying along with her.

When Jesus heard Mary and the mourners’ cries, He was deeply troubled. “Where have you laid him?” He asked.

Jesus Weeps

Jesus was led to Lazarus’ tomb. When He saw it, He wept. No one is sure why Jesus cried. It may have been His love for Lazarus or His anger at the terrible pain and sadness death brings. It is possible that Jesus was sad that His followers seemed to still have no understanding of who He really was.

Jesus then made an unusual request. He commanded that the stone at the entrance of the tomb be rolled away.

“But, Jesus,” Martha cried. “Lazarus has been dead for 4 days. By now, there will be a terrible odour.”

Faith Requires Action

How did Jesus reply? (Ask a student to read John 11:40.) Jesus wanted Martha to truly believe in Him as the Son of God. Martha needed to show that faith by putting it into action. She had to agree to have the stone rolled away from the tomb. This showed she put her complete faith in Jesus to work out the situation as it should be.

Lazarus is Raised

After the stone was rolled away, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed. (Ask a student to read Jesus’ prayer aloud.) Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out”.  Lazarus, still wrapped with strips of linen, appeared at the entrance of the tomb! Many of those who were gathered around now knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. Only Jesus has power to give life!

Jesus Gives Life

Jesus still has power to give life to our physical bodies. But Jesus also gives spiritual life to anyone who believes He is God’s Son and accepts Him as Lord and Saviour. This is even more important than physical life.

All of us will die someday, unless Jesus returns to earth beforehand. Even Lazarus, though he was raised from the dead this time, eventually died and was buried again. Living and dying are part of being on this earth. But when we know Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, our souls will live forever in heaven. (Refer to the memory verse once more.) We will not have to fear death or eternal punishment. Jesus has power to give us life—eternal life.

Accepting God’s Word

Jesus offers eternal life to anyone who will accept Him as Saviour and live for Him. He came to earth, lived as a man, died on a cross, and rose from the grave so we can have eternal life in heaven if we choose to. Eternal life is available to all, but to receive it one must make the decision to accept Jesus as Saviour and live for Him each day. If we do not choose eternal life, we are choosing the only other alternative—eternal death.

God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die to free us from eternal death. He wants us to live with Him forever in the place He has prepared for us. If you have never asked him to forgive your sins and accepted Him as your Saviour, do it today without delay. Then you will know without a doubt that eternal life is yours when your time comes to die.

Divine Appointment

Several Mwera villagers were returning from delivering their goods to Lindi. One old man waved for us to stop. As we drove past him, I looked into his eyes and noted his fatigue. He was desperate and my heart went out to him. We stopped, strapped down his bicycle on the roof rack and gave him a ride.

The 90-year-old man was exhausted and grateful for the kindness we had shown him. He had ridden to Lindi for a business appointment and was now rushing back to attend a funeral at 1 o’clock. We learned that he was the chief of a village near where we had planned to visit. Recognizing that this connection was a “divine appointment,” our plans were adjusted and we went instead to the chief’s village.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Mwera to Know God in His Fullness

1. Mwera introduced to Jesus,
2. Discipled and become strong believers,
3. Their lives to overflow with the love of God.

Prayer Promise

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love...may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17,19).

Remember: JESUS GIVES LIFE  

Memory verse: John 11:25–26
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die."

1. Jesus, my Savour, has given me eternal life.
2. The Spirit of Jesus lives in me now and I will live with Him in heaven.
3. I do not fear death because an eternity with Jesus awaits me.

Pray for Mwera to know God in His fullness.

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Study 13 | Will of God / Jesus is Lord | africaatts.org/go-teach

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