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Miracle 7: Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46)


Palm Sunday recognizes the celebratory entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, beginning the Passion Week on a high note. But what brought these adoring, palm-bearing fans to the city?  John tells us of a stupendous event that happened two miles east of Jerusalem 6 days earlier. Jesus does something that was undisputable by his enemies and unbelievable to those who saw it. But as unbelievable as it was, raising Lazarus from the dead, it truly happened. Word of this surged through the region like a torrent. The event alighted his followers’ imagination with messianic hope at the same time; it solidified the resolve of his attackers. The city was packed with people. The religious leaders began to lay their trap. And the stage was set for the most momentous week in human history.

But what is often missed is the messiness of this moment. John records how everyone is frustrated with Jesus. And his Gospel shows us how we can have the promise of God’s care for us even when our situation looks hopeless.

Discuss: Share with your neighbor the last time you visited a funeral home.

  • The process was overseen by professionals
  • The body was placed in an ornate casket
  • Make-up, hair, and clothes were carefully attended to
  • And everyone uses polite euphemisms


With Jesus, you don’t need to fear death.

Without Jesus, on what basis do you think you will have life after death?

  1. Jesus had friends that he loved. You should as well (11:1-3).
    • Jesus had his disciples.
    • Jesus spoke with the crowds.
    • Jesus had some close personal friends.
  2. Following Jesus will guarantee you will have moments of failed expectations with Jesus. Her are two: Complicated Emotions:
    • Jesus needed to go to Jerusalem (John 11:7).
    • Jesus’ disciples did not want to go to Jerusalem (John 11:8).
    • Jesus had a friend who was ill (John 11:2).
    • Jesus’ other friends wanted Jesus to heal his friend (John 11:3)
    • Jesus disappointed His friends by not only not healing him (John 11:21)
    • Jesus further disappointed his friends by missing the funeral (John 11:38-39).
    • Jesus’ enemies were issuing death threats (John 5:18, 11:56-57).
    • Jesus knows he is going to die by the end of the week (John 11:54)
      • Grief
      • There was sickness (v. 3),
      • There was death (v. 4)
      • There were death threats (v. 8, 16).
      • There was consoling (v. 19)
      • There was mourning (v. 31)
      • There was weeping (v. 33, 35)- Jesus wept (δακρύω) to shed tears and cry audibly.
    • Jesus was deeply moved (v. 33, 38)- (ἐμβριμάομαι) to snort (as in a horse), or the sensation of something being twisted on the inside of you, a sadness that is close to anger.
    • Jesus reveals his true identity- the resurrection and the life (vs. 23-26)\Jesus does more than teach about the resurrection – he is the resurrection (v. 25-26)
      • Jesus took His friends all the way to death because He is the only one that can take them all the way through death.
        • Access to this resurrection reality is through belief
        • Belief in Christ is compatible with the experience of grief.

Key Question: Without Jesus, on what basis do you think you will have life after death?


Consider the following:

  • Jesus knows you (even when you are unsure)
  • Jesus loves you (even when He feels absent)
  • Jesus cares (even when things seem absurd)

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