GOD’S LOVE CAN EASE OUR SADNESS
Lesson Plan for Lower Grades Children’s church
Prepared by Ms. Kristen
OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
You will teach the kids, “When I am sad, I will remember God’s love.”
John 11:17-44, Jesus Raises Lazarus
MEMORY VERSE ACTIVITY: Psalm 9:2
Psalms 9:2, “I will be glad and full of joy because of you. Most High God, I will sing the praises of your name.” Write out the verse word by word and have the child put it in order.
Like it or not, sadness is just part of life. Sad things happen every day in the real world, just as they do in movies. Sadness happens unexpectedly as well, just like it does in those kids movies. Sometimes things turn out to be okay. Sometimes, things aren’t so okay. No matter how things turn out, we can find comfort and peace in the loving arms of God. Today’s scripture is one we often hear quoted at funerals. It’s a passage that reminds us that for those who are believers, death is not the end. It’s a passage that shows us that Jesus felt sadness too, and through Jesus, our sadness can be turned to joy. This is the story of Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus who passed away before Jesus could heal him.
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[a] from Jerusalem,
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 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.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 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.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 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.”
Everyone was broken hearted over Lazarus. Even Jesus cried over the death of his friend. Many of Lazarus’s loved ones were confused and hurt that Jesus had not come sooner. They wanted to know why Jesus took so long, and why He didn’t arrive in time to heal His friend!
Everything Jesus did was according to His plan, including waiting to come and see Lazarus. Jesus wanted to give his followers, including us, a visual picture of how only He can turn sorrow into joy. Jesus went to the tomb. He spoke the words, “Lazarus, come forth!” and Lazarus rose from the grave. Jesus knows what it is to be sad. He knows that in times of sadness, we need comfort. We can find that comfort in knowing Jesus is near us.
Even on the saddest day, Jesus can turn our sadness into joy. How wonderful it would be if Jesus could bring our loved ones back like He did Lazarus. How wonderful it would be if every prayer for healing were answered the way we want. Sadly, that’s not the case. We are all human, and all of us will one day pass away. When we lose someone we love, we will mourn their passing as Jesus mourned Lazarus.
We may even question God the way the people questioned Jesus. “Why couldn’t you heal them?” The good news is no matter what our sorrows may be, Jesus will be near us. Jesus will walk with us, like He walked with Mary and Martha. He will grieve with us, as He did for Lazarus. Jesus will be our strength when we feel like we can’t go on. He will help us get back on our feet. He will restore our joy. Most things that make us sad are only temporary, but in the moment, they can weigh us down. Jesus will help us get through those sad times.
We can remind ourselves that Jesus loves us and is always by our side, and knowing Jesus loves us can help us persevere. Some sadness is harder to get over, like the loss of a loved one. But when we lose someone who had faith in Christ, we can take comfort knowing that we will see them again one day. We will see them in Heaven, and we can have joy knowing that they are with the same God who loves us here on Earth. Sadness comes unexpectedly.
Sadness can ruin our day. It can change our world. Yet even in the saddest of times, we can take comfort knowing God loves us. God will always be with us, and He will turn our sadness into joy.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Read John 11:17-44
Who was Lazarus?
When did Lazarus die?
How did Jesus show his love for Lazarus and his family?
What are some things that make you sad?
What should we do when we feel sad?
Why did Jesus cry for Lazarus?
How did Jesus show his love for Lazarus and his family?
How can remembering God’s love help us with our sadness?
Coloring sheet & Word Search