How to raise the dead – watching Jesus (2/3)

Learning from the master

We saw in Part 1, how the great prophets from the Old Testament raised the dead. Jesus knew the scriptures well and quoted many of them, so that’s a good starting point. But as followers of Christ we ought to be imitators of him and whatever we do and teach must focus on him.

We have learned that God has proven that his word coming out of Elijah is the truth and that Elisha followed in the footsteps of his teacher and raised one boy from the dead while living and another one when he was already dead and put into the grave (2 Kings 13:21). That means that he did indeed have a double portion of the anointing that Elijah had (2 Kings 2:9).

Now Jesus put a new high-score in raising the dead, and when we look and learn from him, we’re learning from the very best! Elijah had one, Elisha two, but Jesus he had three people who got resurrected while he was in the form of a human being. And the most important of all: HE himself has risen from the dead. If there is a place to learn how to raise the dead, we found it. Jesus – the Resurrection and the Life.

In order to have spiritual growth Jesus taught us to ask questions. In order to perform miracles he commanded us to have faith. In order to not be in error we must know the scriptures and the power of god (Matthew 22:29). So let’s dig into scripture:

Raising of Jesus #1: a Widow’s Son

Luke 7:11-16 (NIV)

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 


  • Why do the people say “a great prophet has appeared”?
  • In Vers 13 Jesus says: “Don’t cry.” Why not? What about “cry with those who cry” (Romans 12:15)?
  • Why did he touch the coffin cart AND command the boy to rise?

Raising of Jesus #2: Talitha Koum

Mark 5:22-24  (NIV)
22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him.

Mark 5:35-42 (NIV)
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.


  • Why did he touch the hand AND command the girl to rise?
  • Why is Jesus saying in Vers 39: “The child is not dead but asleep.”?
    • Is he a fan of the Shunamite woman and is “guarding his mouth”?
    • Is he the founder of the “word of faith” movement?
    • Do we need to polish our language when we speak about “bad things”?
  • Vers. 40: Why did everybody except Father, Mother, Peter, John and James have to leave the room?

Raising of Jesus #3: his friend from Bethany

John 11:1-44  (WEB)

The call and the delay

11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”

The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

The misunderstanding

Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” 11 He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”

12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14 So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. 15 I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”

16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus,[a] said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”

The encounter with Martha

17 So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia[b] away. 19 Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”

29 When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”

The encounter with Mary

32 Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?”

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.

36 The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” 37 Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”

The raising

41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.[c] Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

44 He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.

Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.”


Intro to questions 

As we see in this passage “denying the facts” is not a biblical practice. In Vers 11 Jesus again is saying that Lazarus has fallen asleep, but he is not afraid of naming the facts in Vers 14. There he names it clearly: “Lazarus is dead”. This leads to a couple of questions:


  • Is Jesus NOT a fan of the Shunamite woman?
  • Do we NOT need to polish our language when we speak about “bad things”?
  • Why is sleeping a “codeword” for being dead throughout the new testament? (f.e. 1 Thessalonians 4:14)
  • Why do the disciples not understand the codeword?
  • Why is Jesus naming the facts in Vers 14? Does real faith need real circumstances?
  • Why is he crying with the ones who cry this time?
  • Why did he command the dead to rise without touching anything?
  • What did the Prophets Elijah and Elisha do before using physical activity?
  • What did Jesus do before giving the command to rise?

Author: Donay Wartmann

© Legal notice. Scripture references taken from the NIV used by permission. World English Bible (Public domain). We mixed the two sources to comply with NIV copyright limitations to relative amount of NIV to other text.

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