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Sabbath School Lessons on Teachings of Jesus
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: Death and Resurrection *
Introduction: In 1 Corinthians 15:26 we are promised that at Jesus'
Second Coming "the last enemy to be destroyed is death." That is
good news and it is the subject of our Bible study this week. Do you
think it is significant that death is the "last" enemy destroyed?
Wouldn't you rather it be the first? How many times in life have we
been unhappy with God about the death of a friend or family member?
What do we say to others who feel anger? If you believe, as I do,
that God is in charge of the universe, how do we explain human
tragedy? Should we even try? Let's dive into our study of the Bible
and see what we can learn!
- Read John 11:1-3. Put yourself in the place of Martha and
Mary. Why would you write "the one you love" is sick?
- Do you think it is true that Jesus had a special
relationship with Lazarus? (We are told here that
Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet and wiped them
with her hair. Elsewhere we are told about these
sisters opening their home to Jesus and the disciples
( Luke 10:38-39). The point would be to get Jesus to
come and heal Lazarus.)
- Read John 11:4. How does Jesus view the illness of
Lazarus? (He says that it will not end in death. Rather,
the illness will bring glory to God.)
- Read John 11:5-6. Was the word that the sisters sent to
Jesus accurate - that Jesus loved Lazarus? (Yes. This
confirms what they said.)
- If the friend you love needs help, why delay two
days? (Jesus knows what will happen. However, as we
will see, this delay is extremely upsetting to the
- Read John 11:7-8. The disciples understand the
relationship between Lazarus, his sisters, and Jesus. Do
they think going to help Lazarus is a good idea? (No. They
think it is dangerous for Jesus to go.)
- Read John 11:9-10. Is this an odd response? The disciples
talk about danger, and Jesus talks about walking
conditions. Do they just mishear each other? (Jesus is
making a very important statement about death. You have an
allotted time to live. If you walk in the daylight during
your life, you will not "stumble" and you will have your
"twelve hours." Jesus tells His disciples that although
it is dangerous, He will not die before His appointed
- Read John 11:11-13. What is the relationship between the
disciples and Lazarus. Jesus says that Lazarus is a
friend to them all.)
- Notice how Jesus refers to death. What does Jesus say
is the state of Lazarus' consciousness? (He says that
death is like a sleep. This supports the idea that we
are not conscious in death.)
- Why do the disciples suggest that Lazarus is
improving? (They are still concerned about the danger
of going there.)
- Read John 11:14-16. Are Jesus and His disciples on the
same page - are they looking at things in the same way?
(No. The disciples are thinking this is needlessly
dangerous. They are thinking about themselves. Jesus is
thinking that He is about to show the disciples and the
world that He has power over death.)
- Notice how the disciples and Jesus speak about death
in a different way. Earlier, in John 11:4, Jesus said
"this sickness will not end in death." How do we
reconcile these apparently conflicting statements?
(Jesus does not view the death of those who will be
resurrected as true "death." He views it like
- Read John 11:17-21. What message is Martha giving to
Jesus? (They sent word that they needed help. Jesus loves
them, He would surely come and heal Lazarus. Jesus healed
all sorts of people He did not know, why would He fail to
heal someone He loved? Martha is unhappy with Jesus.)
- Do you think the sisters and Lazarus discussed this
issue before Lazarus' death? (No doubt they comforted
Lazarus by telling him that Jesus was coming. The
One who had healed so many, the Friend who loved him,
would certainly come and save him from death. But,
then Lazarus died.)
- What message is Mary giving to Jesus? (She refuses to
even greet Jesus! My guess is that she is angry and
wants Jesus to know it. He let them down and now her
brother is dead.)
- Read John 11:22. What is Martha saying? (She is
disappointed in Jesus, but she still has faith in Him.
Mary is just angry and devastated.)
- What do you think Martha had in mind when she said
God would give Jesus "whatever you ask?"
- Read John 11:23-24. What is Martha's understanding of
death? (The dead are raised in the resurrection at the end
- Read John 11:25-27. Let's examine Jesus' statement. What
do you think He means by stating He is "the resurrection
and the life?" (Jesus says first that He has the power to
resurrect. He says next that He has the power to give life
to those He resurrects.)
- How do you understand Jesus' statement about never
dying when He just spoke about us dying? (Look at
this as a sequence. We die, Jesus resurrects us to
life. Those who live and believe in Jesus will never
thereafter die. The resurrected life in Jesus is life
eternal. This is consistent with Jesus' prior
statement that Lazarus' illness would not "end in
death." John 11:4. Jesus teaches us that the first
death is, in reality, a sleep. Friends and family
have not died, they are asleep. If they accept Jesus
as their resurrection and life, they will rise to
- Read John 11:28-29. Does the fact that Mary got up quickly
suggest that she is not angry with Jesus for letting her
brother die? (Emotions around death are often fickle.
Jesus asked about her. That showed that He cared, and it
might have been what was needed to change her attitude.)
- Read John 11:32. Is Mary accusing Jesus? If you were
Jesus, what would you say? (Mary is blaming Jesus. She
fell at His feet. He had the power. He did not come when
He was notified that Lazarus needed help.)
- Read John 11:33-35. If Jesus knew what He had in mind, why
would He weep? (Jesus loves us. Although He will defeat
death, He is sad when we are sad. He is sad when we think
that He has let us down.)
- Read John 11:36-37. One group says, seeing Jesus weep,
that Jesus loved Lazarus. What is the response of the
other group? (If Jesus loved Lazarus, why did He let him
die? It shows Jesus did not love Lazarus.)
- Is this the debate that you see at every funeral of a
person "too young" to die? (Yes! And, this story
answers the question. Jesus lets people sleep even
though He loves them.)
- Read John 11:38-39. Martha is the one who suggested that
Jesus could do anything. What has happened to her belief?
- Read John 11:40-42. What does Jesus want the crowd to
know? (That God is the power behind the miracle. That God
sent Jesus. The glory is being given to God.)
- Read John 11:43-44. Now put yourself in the place of
Martha and Mary. Does it matter that Jesus delayed? Does
it matter that He did not answer their call when He was
needed the most? (No! Everything is right now. Everything
is right and this happened "for God's glory so that God's
Son may be glorified through it." John 11:4.)
- Read John 11:45. How is God glorified? (Many put their
faith in Jesus! Even today this gives us faith in God and
helps us to understand His wisdom in the midst of
- Read John 11:46-48 and John 11:53. What is another
consequence of Jesus raising Lazarus to life? (Jesus
sealed His own fate. Put these two facts together when you
experience the loss of a loved one. Instead of blaming
Jesus, instead of being angry with Him, consider that His
death and resurrection allow the resurrection of your
loved one from "sleep." He died that you might live. He
loved us enough to die for us!)
- Friend, we can see in this story that we need to trust
Jesus with our own life and the lives of those we love. We
have an allotted time that we are given if we walk in the
light. After that, if we place our faith in Jesus, we will
sleep until Jesus wakes us to everlasting life! Will you
- Next week: The Second Coming of Jesus.
* Copr. 2014, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.