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!

  1. Lazarus

    1. Read John 11:1-3. Put yourself in the place of Martha and
      Mary. Why would you write “the one you love” is sick?

      1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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

    4. 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.)

    5. 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

    6. Read John 11:11-13. What is the relationship between the
      disciples and Lazarus. Jesus says that Lazarus is a
      friend to them all.)

      1. 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.)

      2. Why do the disciples suggest that Lazarus is
        improving? (They are still concerned about the danger
        of going there.)

    7. 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.)

      1. 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

    8. 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.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

    9. 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.)

      1. What do you think Martha had in mind when she said
        God would give Jesus “whatever you ask?”

    10. Read John 11:23-24. What is Martha’s understanding of
      death? (The dead are raised in the resurrection at the end
      of time.)

    11. 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.)

      1. 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
        life eternal.)

    12. 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.)

    13. 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.)

    14. 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.)

    15. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    16. Read John 11:38-39. Martha is the one who suggested that
      Jesus could do anything. What has happened to her belief?

    17. 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.)

    18. 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.)

    19. 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

    20. 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!)

    21. 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
      trust Jesus?

  2. Next week: The Second Coming of Jesus.