Genuine worship involves more than attending church services. It is an attitude of the heart: a respectful love for God, our Savior. The story of Lazarus contains ideas that will inspire such devotion, not only in adults but also in children. In this message from the gospel according to St. John, Sunday school teachers will find ample material that will move their pupils to worship the Lord with a sincere heart.
Self-sacrifice of Jesus
Lazarus died in Bethany, a village near the city of Jerusalem. Jesus wanted to go there on a mission of mercy. When he revealed his travel plans, his disciples reminded him that the inhabitants of Jerusalem threatened to stone him the last time he visited. Jesus was well aware of the danger. In fact, he knew that he would eventually die in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, his love for Lazarus moved him to go anyway. He was willing to lay down his life, not only for Lazarus, but also for all mankind, including each individual child on the face of the earth. This concept of Jesus' willingness to sacrifice himself for the children will unloose their tongues with genuine worship and praise.
Jesus' Spiritual Concern
The disciples of Jesus often had weak faith. Jesus was concerned about this, so he did not hurry to Bethany. Instead, he delayed his departure, and told his disciples that he was glad that he was not there when Lazarus died. He hinted that something was about to happen that would strengthen their faith. Jesus is also concerned about the spiritual welfare of children. This spiritual concern will move children to worship.
Giver of Life
As Jesus approached Bethany, Martha, one of Lazarus' sisters, came to meet him. In the ensuing discussion, Jesus pointed out that he is life, so that all who believe in him will never die. This promise applies to children also. For them also, faith in Jesus means that physical death is not the end. Rather, it is the beginning of a new life of untempered joy and bliss. Children will exuberantly worship when they learn of the happiness that Jesus has prepared for them.
Compassion of Jesus
When Martha told her sister Mary that Jesus was near, she also went out to see Jesus, followed by friends and relatives who also mourned for Lazarus. When Jesus saw the grief of Mary and her friends, He felt sorry for them and began to cry. From this, children can depend on it that Jesus will sympathise with them whenever they have any problems or heartaches. This will inspire them to love and worship him in return.
Jesus' Saving Power
In the end, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, even though he had died several days before and had even been buried in a sepulchre. This shows that Jesus not only sympathises with children in times of need, but also has the power to do something about their problems. He is a real life hero who can help them. In this case, hero worship is not misplaced, for Jesus is the true Son of God and the Savior of the world.
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