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Scripture Story: John 11.

Commentary: The Desire of Ages (or Humble Hero), chapters 58, 59.

wake up!

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“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35, NIV)


“Christ did not weep for Lazarus; for He was about to call him from the grave. He wept because many of those now mourning for Lazarus would soon plan the death of Him who was the resurrection and the life” (The Desire of Ages, p. 533).

what do you think?

Voting: Agree or Disagree
Raising someone from the dead is far more powerful a miracle than feeding 5,000 people or healing someone from leprosy.
The miraculous signs Jesus did grew out of His compassion for broken people more than His desire to prove to people He was the Son of God. Indicate why you voted “agree” or “disagree.”

did you know?

When Mary and Martha were weeping for their dead brother, Lazarus, it was more like wailing. In fact, did you know that in those days, people were paid to wail and weep at funerals just to emphasize the sadness of death? When Jesus wept, the word is not the same word for wailing, but for a deep, quiet grief that words can’t really capture.


“On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. . . . When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“ ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. . . . ’

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

“Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

“ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God , who is to come into the world.’

“And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. . . .

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.

“ ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.

“Jesus wept.

“Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’. . .

“Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ he said. . . .

“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’ ” (John 11:17-44, NIV)


Read John 11:1-16 and 45-57 for the rest of the story.

Circle the names of all the key people mentioned in this story.

Underline the words and phrases that make up the heart of this story.

Mary and Martha both approach Jesus in this story. What is similar about their interactions with Jesus and how are they different?

Why do you think Jesus wept? Was He sad that Lazarus had died? Was He sad because everyone else was crying?

What saying in this story do you think is most significant? Why?

In a world in which death, the afterlife, and the immortality of the soul are prominent themes, what does this story teach about death and the afterlife?

Describe the various reactions of the people that witnessed the raising of Lazarus.

What surprises you the most in this story?

Why do you think this story is included in John’s Gospel?

punch lines

“Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died. What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, NCV).

“Still, I know that God lives—the One who gives me back my life—and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth. And I’ll see him—even though I get skinned alive!—see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!” (Job 19:25-27, Message).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:25-27, NASB).

further insight

“Death could not have aimed his dart at Lazarus in the presence of the Life-giver. Therefore Christ remained away. He suffered the enemy to exercise his power, that He might drive him back, a conquered foe.” —Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 528



Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.

Read and respond to the voting question in the What Do You Think? section of this week’s lesson. Looking at the miraculous things Jesus did, some things today seem more miraculous than others. Mending a broken hand or opening blind eyes is common practice for doctors, but most of medicine’s power today is an attempt to delay the inevitable— death. Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and reflect on how Christ has done at Calvary what medicine could never do.


Read Psalm 139:16, 17.

Read the Into the Story section and use the questions in the Out of the Story section to guide your study. This week’s lesson is filled with various characters, emotions, and events that are relevant to all people today. With so many parts of the raising of Lazarus story to choose from, which scene compels you the most? Why? When you read this story, what do you think God is trying to say to you about your life?


Read John 11:35.

The Key Text this week is short; in fact, the shortest. But don’t let the size of the verse trick you into not grasping its full meaning. Why did Jesus weep? Look at the Did You Know? section as well and examine what you think troubled Jesus to tears more: the apparent effect death had over His friends, or the stubborn shortsighted minds that were planning to kill Him. Perhaps this day you could look at your life through the lens of what makes Jesus weep. When people are mistreated, Jesus weeps. When people don’t—or won’t—look at the big picture of the plan of salvation, Jesus weeps. When people are confused about the future and no one is there to say, “God has made a way,” Jesus weeps. While this verse may be easy to remember, try not to forget its meaning.


Read Ezekiel 18:32.

Read the quote from The Desire of Ages in the Flashlight section that describes what really caused Jesus to come to tears. Whom do you know who is bent against God, for one reason or another? Whom can you think of who resists God’s presence in their life? Begin to pray for them that the compassionate Savior may soften their heart. This takes time, so keep at it and perhaps keep a journal of your prayers. But know that Jesus cares more for their stubborn condition than anyone else and longs to see them restored to hope.


The Punch Lines in this week’s lesson are a beautiful string of pearls that show the beauty of God’s grace and the power of His compassion. If you had to choose one verse from the Punch Lines that you could share with someone who is grieving over the loss of a loved one, which verse would you choose? Why?


Read 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55.

Take a walk by the cemetery. Read the obituaries in the paper. Watch the news. Notice how death is a real part of our life, and how we fight to avoid it. Although we struggle, we believe that Christ’s work on Calvary and His victorious resurrection take the sting out of death. Find a practical way to keep this promise before you today. Write a verse out and leave it where you can see it.


Read Revelation 21:4, 5.

As heart-wrenching as the Lazarus story is, even though Lazarus was raised to life, it was only long enough to see His Savior die on Calvary. Imagine how Lazarus must have felt as Jesus was being crucified. What was he thinking? What do you think Mary, Martha, and Lazarus will say in heaven about the seasons of grief they experienced?

Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scriptures credited to NCV are quoted from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

this week’s reading*

The Desire of Ages (or Humble Hero), chapters 58, 59.

A special adaptation of The Desire of Ages, entitled Humble Hero, has been created just for you by the White Estate and the Pacific Press Publishing Association. Get more info about it at: By following this plan you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.