Bible Lesson / Teen Bible Lesson.
Spiritual Alternative to Halloween. / Teen Bible Lesson.
This time of year, ghosts and goblins appear everywhere. I have selected 13 real-life stories from the Bible for those of you who want an alternative to the scary fiction floating around. Or if you want to use this time of year as an opportunity to focus attention on Christ.
I have also included discussion starter questions for each episode. All Scripture references are from the Easy-To-Read Version of the Bible. There is no expiration date for the multiple-choice (poll) questions. And of course, if you wish to share your thoughts or comments on this blog, you are more than welcomed to do so.
Get ready to hoot and howl! Part 4.
There was a man named Lazarus who was sick. He lived in the town of Bethany, where Mary and her sister Martha lived. (Mary is the same woman who put perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) Mary’s brother was Lazarus, the man who was now sick. So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, “Lord, your dear friend Lazarus is sick.”
When Jesus heard this he said, “The end of this sickness will not be death. No, this sickness is for the glory of God. This has happened to bring glory to the Son of God.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days and then said to his followers, “We should go back to Judea.”
They answered, “But Teacher, those Jews there tried to stone you to death. That was only a short time ago. Now you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered, “There are twelve hours of light in the day. Whoever walks in the day will not stumble and fall because they can see with the light from the sun. But whoever walks at night will stumble because there is no light.”
Then Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus is now sleeping, but I am going there to wake him.”
The followers answered, “But, Lord, if he can sleep, he will get well.” They thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was literally sleeping, but he really meant that Lazarus was dead.
So then Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad I was not there. I am happy for you because now you will believe in me. We will go to him now.”
Then Thomas, the one called “Twin,” said to the other followers, “We will go too. We will die there with Jesus.”
Jesus arrived in Bethany and found that Lazarus had already been dead and in the tomb for four days. Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to see Martha and Mary. They came to comfort them about their brother Lazarus.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to greet him. But Mary stayed home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask.”
Jesus said, “Your brother will rise and be alive again.”
Martha answered, “I know that he will rise to live again at the time of the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection. I am life. Everyone who believes in me will have life, even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never really die. Martha, do you believe this?”
Martha answered, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God. You are the one who was coming to the world.”
After Martha said these things, she went back to her sister Mary. She talked to Mary alone and said, “The Teacher is here. He is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she stood up and went quickly to Jesus. He had not yet come into the village. He was still at the place where Martha met him. The Jews who were in the house comforting Mary saw her get up and leave quickly. They thought she was going to the tomb to cry there. So they followed her. Mary went to the place where Jesus was. When she saw him, she bowed at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw Mary crying and the people with her crying too, he was very upset and deeply troubled. He asked, “Where did you put him?”
They said, “Lord, come and see.”
And the Jews said, “Look! He loved Lazarus very much!”
But some of them said, “Jesus healed the eyes of the blind man. Why didn’t he help Lazarus and stop him from dying?”
Again feeling very upset, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. He said, “Move the stone away.”
Martha said, “But, Lord, it has been four days since Lazarus died. There will be a bad smell.” Martha was the sister of the dead man.
Then Jesus said to her, “Remember what I told you? I said that if you believed, you would see God’s divine greatness.”
So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me.I know that you always hear me. But I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me.” After Jesus said this he called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with pieces of cloth. He had a handkerchief covering his face.
Jesus said to the people, “Take off the cloth and let him go.”
There were many Jews who came to visit Mary. When they saw what Jesus did, many of them believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus did. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the high council. They said, “What should we do? This man is doing many miraculous signs. If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.”
One of the men there was Caiaphas. He was the high priest that year. He said, “You people know nothing! It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed. But you don’t realize this.”
Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As that year’s high priest, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish people. Yes, he would die for the Jewish people. But he would also die for God’s other children scattered all over the world. He would die to bring them all together and make them one people.
That day the Jewish leaders began planning to kill Jesus. So Jesus stopped traveling around openly among the Jews. He went away to a town called Ephraim in an area near the desert. He stayed there with his followers.