On the Saturday, we remember the miracle of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. Mary and Martha plead with the Lord to come quickly to heal their brother Lazarus. but Jesus delayed his return. When Jesus arrived he said: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” - John 11:25
There are many today who do not understand why God does not heal all their problems. Discuss why Jesus allowed Lazarus to die and why God may allow troubles in our lives today.
Mary, Martha and their friends all believed in Jesus' power to heal. They believed that He was the Messiah. But still Jesus wanted to increase their faith. He wanted them to see the full power and glory of God, to give substance to His promises. They said they believed in the resurrection on the final day, but had not yet seen God's power to raise the dead. It was distant to them -- not connected to their current life. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die in order to show God's ultimate power. Discuss how this tragedy turned into a terrific source of faith in their lives. How they could then proclaim to others, "God can raise the dead!"
On the Sunday the Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem. Having anticipated His arrival and having heard of the miracle of Lazarus, the people went out to meet the Lord and welcomed Him with displays of honor and shouts of praise.
Jesus normally walked everywhere he went. He didn't own an animal to ride. For this occasion, he borrowed a donkey's colt. Even his ability to tell the disciples where a colt would be and what the owners would say was a small but powerful reminder of who Jesus was and the power he possessed. If he had such power, why didn't he own a riding animal? Why did Jesus avoid all physical trappings of power?
The Pharisees wanted Jesus to stop the crowds. They considered their acknowledgement of Christ's kingship as treason against Herod. Jesus' response was that no one could stop the true acknowledgement of His kingship. Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus before this grand entrance into the city. What affect would this have on their hearts? Why not kill him then and there?