Kids Korner: Lazarus is alive again (Lent V, March 26th)

Read John 11:1-45 with your family.

There are some interesting facts in this story.

  • The shortest sentence in the Christian Scriptures is 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
  • In ancient Hebrew tradition, the person had to be dead for three days in order to believe they were truly dead. Anything shorter was considered a mistake that had been made. That is why Jesus waiting three days was important – Lazarus was really dead.
  • Every time the word ‘Jew’ is used, read “Judean”, meaning the people of Judah. Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived in Bethany, which was a small village just east of Jerusalem, so their friends and neighbours would be Judeans.
  • Martha and Mary were ministers in the early Christian church. There is no information about Lazarus.
  • In the scripture before this story we find out that people in Jerusalem had tried to kill Jesus by stoning him, and Jesus left to go to a safer place. Jesus risked being hurt or killed by returning to Jerusalem to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
  • Jesus thanks God in a prayer in v. 41-42, proving to everyone that it is God who brought Lazarus back to life, not Jesus.

I story of Lazarus is interesting. We have a friend of Jesus who has died, Jesus risking death to come back to see him, Martha, Mary and others being sad and wanting Jesus to do something, and after three days God brings Lazarus back from the dead. On its own it is a very good story.

But this is the Gospel of John, where everything really points to Jesus, so this story isn’t just about Martha, Mary and Lazarus, this is also about Jesus facing his own death.

Jesus risks his own life returning to Jerusalem to help people understand about God. Jesus is surrounded by friends and family who are sad and want Jesus to make a different choice. After he is dead for three days, Jesus comes back to life in the Resurrection.

The story of Lazarus points to the story of Jesus.

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