Apr 04

“It ain’t over til it’s over!” A lesson for the 5th Sunday in Lent

The following lesson was included in Lenten materials produced for our ministry partners. It is written for a “children’s sermon” or object lesson in a Sunday school format. We hope it blesses you as we near the end of our Lenten journey to the cross. Easter is coming soon! –Chris.


Week 5: “It’s never over until it’s over.”

Objects needed: A variety of sports balls

Theme/Main Idea: Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over,” and he was true to a point. There are lots of small ‘endings’ we come up against in life: a school year end, we move away and lose a good friend, a favorite pet passes away. Endings are difficult. But, because we know Jesus, we have the assurance that even these ‘endings’ doesn’t mean it’s all over!

Key Text: John 11:17-44


“Who here likes to play games? Who enjoys sports? Yes, a lot of you. Well, who can tell me when you know the game is over? That’s right… sometimes you play a game to a certain score or play on the board, and sometimes there is a time limit and when the time runs out, the game is over. I have brought some examples for us today to think about… [Take out sports balls, games, etc.]

Now matter how lopsided the score, we must remember it's not over until it's over!

Now matter how lopsided the score, we must remember it’s not over until it’s over!

What games do we play with these items? [Hold up one item/ball] If we played a game with this, how would we know when we were done? [wait for responses]

All very good responses, thank you. With most things like games or sporting events, it is easy to tell when the game is over. And, unless its hockey or soccer, there is usually a winning team and a losing team. The end of the game settles any question about who was the best that day.

In the Bible story today, we see a story that is anything but a game for the people involved. All friends of Jesus, two sisters had lost their brother. Lazarus had died. Mary and Martha were very upset, maybe even more so because they knew that if Jesus had come just a few days earlier, he could have healed Lazarus and he wouldn’t be dead. But, now the scoreboard showed “0:00.” Time was up. Lazarus had been dead for four days. Death was a winner once again, and life had lost.

But, then Jesus did something amazing. After crying for the pain he saw his friends were in, and for the pain he was in for knowing Lazarus had dies, he told Mary and Martha that God would be given glory in this situation because Lazarus would live! Death might have thought it had won, but Jesus was greater than death.

How amazing would it have been to be there by the graveside when Lazarus was called out? After a lifetime of seeing death win time and again, claiming close friends, family, neighbors… now, there was hope that Jesus was bigger than death and the grave? Incredible!

This story is given to us for a number of reasons, I think. One reason would be to show us that no matter what, Jesus is bigger than death. We can trust him. Sometimes the people we pray for and ask God to heal get better. A lot of times they don’t. And, in both cases, God is doing what is best… even if all we can do is look at the scoreboard, see that time is up, and that it LOOKS like death has won again. This leads to another reason I think we have this story… it was like a preview of what was to come, kinda like you see before the movies? “A preview of coming attractions,” they usually announce. In showing everyone that he had power over death, Jesus raised Lazarus so his followers could have hope and believe that when he died on the cross and was buried that he too would be brought back from death! And, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we know that we can live forever with God, our sins forgiven and forgotten by God. That is good news.

So, remember this… no matter what the scoreboard says. It’s never over until it’s over. And, death isn’t the end of the game. With Jesus in our lives, it’s just the beginning of a life forever with God in heaven.

Let’s pray:

God, thank you for giving us victory in Jesus. We can win, no matter what life hands us, because we know that death and the grave have been defeated. So help us not have the attitude of those who have lost, depressed in spirit and downhearted because we think there is no hope. NO! We trust that there is always hope, for us and for all people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”