That's What Friends Are For

Theme: Jesus is a friend in time of need. 5th Sunday in Lent - Yr. A
Object: None is needed, but you could use a video of the "Jungle Book."
Scripture: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. " John 11:25-26a (NIV)

Have you ever seen the movie "Jungle Book?" It tells the story of a boy, Mowgli, who lives in the jungle among the animals. He is trying to make his way back to the human village and along the way he meets many very interesting characters. There's mad King Louie of the Apes and a lovable, happy-go-lucky bear named Baloo. He even meets a group of vultures who pledge their friendship in a song called "That's What Friends Are For." The words of the song go like this:

We're your friends
We're your friends
We're your friends to the bitter end

When you're alone
Who comes around
To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you're outside, looking in
Who's there to open the door?
That's what friends are for!

Do you have a friend who is always there for you? One who cheers you up when you're feeling sad. One who stands by you no matter what. We could all use a friend like that, couldn't we? Our Bible lesson today tells a story about that kind of friend.

There was a man named Lazarus who lived in Bethany with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. They knew Jesus and were his good friends. One day, Lazarus became sick. His sisters sent word to Jesus saying, "Lord, your dear friend Lazarus is very sick." But Jesus was in another town and didn't come right away.

When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Martha ran to meet Jesus and told him that Lazarus had been dead for four days. "If only you had been here, my brother would not have died."

Jesus answered, "Your brother will rise again. I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

So Martha went back and got her sister Mary and they took Jesus to show him the place where Lazarus was buried. When he arrived at the tomb, Jesus told them to roll away the stone that covered the entrance. He prayed to his Father and then he called in a loud voice, "Lazarus come out!" Do you know what happened? Even though he had been dead for four days, Lazarus walked out of the tomb! He wasn't dead -- he wasn't even sick!

Wow! How would you like to have a friend like that? Well, you do. Jesus loves you just as he loved Lazarus and he wants to be your friend. He'll pick you up when you are down. He'll be with you to the bitter end. After all, that's what friends are for.

Dear Jesus, you said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Thank you for being our friend. Amen.

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