Sunday School Material 5-20-12: The Resurrection and the Life
(John 11:17-2, 41-44; 5/20/12)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and taught about being the resurrection. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to appreciate Jesus being the resurrection and His ability to work things out for the good of His people.
Read John 11:17-27
I. Faith at a Funeral. In the Sunday School material Jesus approaches the grave area of Lazarus, after he had been dead for four days. Martha comes out to meet Jesus. There is an exchange of words. Jesus declares that He is the resurrection, and faith in Him being such is called for.
- We too must die. Notice in vs. 17 of the Sunday School material that Lazarus died. In spite of his being a close associate of Jesus and perhaps well off (see Standard Lesson Commentary), he still died. Unless Jesus returns and prevents it, all of us will die.
This knowledge should lead us to get our affairs in order. Every adult should strive to have some life insurance, a will, a living will, and, as God has prospered us, we should try to leave a donation for our churches.
We would do well to make sure we have given diligence to resolving any relational issues that are outstanding. But the most important thing we can do is to make sure we are saved through our faith in Jesus. Let’s make sure we are prepared for our date with death.
- Comforting those who grieve. Notice in vs. 19 of the Sunday School material that people came to comfort the grieving family. There are too many people who claim that they came to comfort those who grieve but actually cause more harm than they give comfort.
Those who intend to comfort would do well to give all of their attention to ministering to the needs of the one who is grieving. Some need conversations and others need silence. Some need food and others do not need food.
No grieving person needs another thing to do like entertaining and showing appreciation for the one who claims they are trying to comfort. Let’s work on being real comforters in the time of grief.
- Talking while grieving. Notice in vss. 20-27 that Martha’s comments may not represent her best thinking and presentations. We tend not to think at our best levels, when we are grieving.
It reasons therefore that we do some pre-planning regarding our deaths and the deaths of our loved ones. Too many people end up making emotion based decisions that they would not have made under calmer circumstances.
Anyone spending over $4,000 to $6,000 for a funeral is probably making bad decisions. In fact, we could spend less on a funeral, even less with cremation, and yet less with donating our bodies to science without helping or hurting the one who died.
Let’s be careful about decisions that we make and the words that we speak during our times of intense grief.
- Jesus the resurrection. Notice in vss. 23-27 of the Sunday School material that Jesus is the resurrection. From a spiritual perspective, Jesus brings back to life those who die spiritually.
Jesus provides a spiritual rebirth for those who transition from a salvation of works or no salvation at all to being saved by faith in Jesus’ payment for one’s sin. This new spiritual life through the resurrection of Christ transcends the death of our physical bodies.
Let’s make sure that we have experienced the spiritual resurrection found in Christ and urge others to do the same. As painful as death may be, it is not the end of the human spirit. The spirit will live on, in either Heaven or Hell. Heaven is only for those who have Christ.
Read John 11:41-44
II. Freed from the Grave. The stone in front of Lazarus’ tomb is removed. In the Sunday School material Jesus prays in a way that benefits those who are around Him.
He calls for Lazarus to come out of the tomb and death. Lazarus comes out. Jesus tells those around Lazarus to take off his grave cloths, especially those around his hands and feet.
- Edifying others around us. Notice in vss. 41-42 that Jesus prayed in such a way that others would benefit. Especially in a corporate worship or group situation, we should strive to do those things that edify or benefit others, as opposed to simply doing what makes us feel good.
In other words, the corporate worship experience is not a time for many individuals to come and have individual worship and we just happen to be in the same place but doing our separate things.
On the contrary, corporate worship should be where a group of believers come to worship together and in ways that edifies and strengthens others. Let’s work on doing those things that edify or benefit others, especially when we are in a group.
This application should make us think about our dress code, the words that we say, and even our body language, when we are around others.
- Trusting God’s timing. Notice in vss. 43-44 of the Sunday School material that Jesus performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. However, Lazarus died again.
First, there is no doubt that God is able to perform miracles. To a great extent, the fact that you and I are still alive is a miracle. Second, we should not expect God to raise people from the dead today.
If He did, many of us would run away from the resurrected person in fear. And remember the person being resurrected is being kept from Heaven and has to die yet again. Therefore, we should not read a text like this and work on having the faith to get God to raise our loved ones from the dead.
We should study this text and appreciate that the raising of the physical body was to give credence to God’s ability to raise our spiritual lives from spiritual death. Let’s work on trusting God’s timing of death and appreciating that there is spiritual life, after physical death.
Conclusion: Let’s work on appreciating Jesus being the resurrection and His ability to work things out for the good of His people. God has much for those who obey His will.
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