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“Your Brother Will Rise”!

“Your Brother Will Rise”!

“Jesus said to [Martha]: ‘Your brother will rise.’”​—JOHN 11:23.

SONG 151 He Will Call


1. How did one boy express his hope in the resurrection?

 A BOY named Matthew has a serious medical condition that has required many surgeries. When he was seven years old, he and his family were watching a monthly program on JW Broadcasting®. Toward the end of the program, they saw a music video about welcoming loved ones back in the resurrection. b After the program, Matthew approached his parents, held their hands, and said: “You see, Mom and Dad? Even if I die, I will wake up in the resurrection. You can wait for me; it will be OK.” Can you imagine how those parents must have felt when they learned how real the resurrection hope is to their son?

2-3. Why is it good for us to reflect on the resurrection promise?

2 From time to time, we all do well to reflect on the Bible’s promise of a future resurrection. (John 5:28, 29) Why? Because we never know when we might face a life-threatening illness or suddenly lose someone we love in death. (Eccl. 9:11; Jas. 4:13, 14) Our resurrection hope can help us endure such challenges. (1 Thess. 4:13) The Scriptures assure us that our heavenly Father knows us well and loves us dearly. (Luke 12:7) Think of how well Jehovah God must know us in order to re-create us with our personality and memories intact. And how loving of Jehovah to give us the opportunity for everlasting life, even by resurrecting us if necessary!

3 In this article, we will first discuss why we can believe in the resurrection promise. Then, we will examine the faith-strengthening Bible account that contains the words of our theme text: “Your brother will rise.” (John 11:23) Lastly, we will learn how to make the resurrection hope more real to us.


4. To believe in a promise, of what must we be convinced? Illustrate.

4 To believe in a promise, we must be convinced that the one making the promise has the desire as well as the power, or ability, to fulfill it. To illustrate: Imagine that your house has been badly damaged by a storm. A friend comes to you and promises, ‘I am going to help you rebuild your house.’ He is sincere, and you are convinced that he has the desire to help you. If he is a skilled builder and has the needed tools, you know that he also has the ability. So you believe in his promise. What, then, about God’s promise of a resurrection? Does he really have the desire and the power to fulfill it?

5-6. Why can we be sure that Jehovah has the desire to resurrect the dead?

5 Does Jehovah have the desire to resurrect the dead? Without question, he does. He inspired a number of Bible writers to record his promise of a future resurrection. (Isa. 26:19; Hos. 13:14; Rev. 20:11-13) And when Jehovah makes a promise, he always fulfills it. (Josh. 23:14) Jehovah is, in fact, eager to restore the dead to life. Why can we say that?

6 Consider the words of the patriarch Job. He was sure that even if he died, Jehovah would yearn to see him live again. (Job 14:14, 15, ftn.) Jehovah has the same longing for all his worshippers who have died. He is eager to bring them back to life, healthy and happy. What about the billions who have died without having a chance to learn the truth about Jehovah? Our loving God wants to resurrect them too. (Acts 24:15) He wants them to have the opportunity to become his friends and live forever on earth. (John 3:16) Clearly, Jehovah has the desire to resurrect the dead.

7-8. Why can we be sure that Jehovah has the power to resurrect the dead?

7 Does Jehovah also have the power to resurrect the dead? Absolutely! He is “the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) So he is powerful enough to defeat any enemy, even death. (1 Cor. 15:26) We find strength and comfort in knowing that. Consider the experience of Sister Emma Arnold. She and her family faced severe tests of faith during World War II. To comfort her daughter over the loss of loved ones in Nazi concentration camps, Emma said: “If death would keep mankind perpetually in its bonds, it would be stronger than God, wouldn’t it?” Surely, nothing is stronger than Jehovah! The almighty God who created life is capable of restoring life to those who have died.

8 Another reason why we know that God is capable of resurrecting the dead is that he has a limitless memory. He calls each star by its name. (Isa. 40:26) Also, he remembers those who have died. (Job 14:13; Luke 20:37, 38) He can easily remember the smallest details about those he will resurrect, including their genetic code, their experiences in life, and their memories.

9. Why do you believe in Jehovah’s promise of a future resurrection?

9 Clearly, we can believe in Jehovah’s promise of a future resurrection because we know that he has both the desire and the power to fulfill it. Consider another reason for believing in God’s promise of a resurrection: Jehovah has already done it. In Bible times, he empowered a handful of faithful men, including Jesus, to raise the dead. Let us examine the account of one of the resurrections performed by Jesus, as recorded in John chapter 11.


10. What happens while Jesus is preaching across the Jordan from Bethany, and what does he do? (John 11:1-3)

10 Read John 11:1-3. Imagine the scene in Bethany toward the end of 32 C.E. Jesus has close friends in this village​—Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. (Luke 10:38-42) But Lazarus has become ill, and his sisters are worried. They send a message to Jesus, who is across the Jordan, about a two-day walk from Bethany. (John 10:40) Sadly, Lazarus dies about the time the messenger reaches Jesus. Even though Jesus knows that his friend has just died, he remains where he is for two more days and then he makes the trip to Bethany. So by the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Jesus intends to do something that will benefit his friends and glorify God.​—John 11:4, 6, 11, 17.

11. What lesson about friendship can we learn from this account?

11 We learn a lesson about friendship from this account. Consider: When Mary and Martha sent the message to Jesus, they did not ask him to come to Bethany. They simply said that his dear friend was sick. (John 11:3) When Lazarus died, Jesus could have resurrected him from a distance. Yet, Jesus chose to go to Bethany to be with his friends Mary and Martha. Do you have a friend who will come to your aid without being asked? Then you know that you can count on him for help in “times of distress.” (Prov. 17:17) Like Jesus, may we be such a friend to others! Now let us return to the account and see what happens next.

12. What does Jesus promise Martha, and why is it not an empty promise? (John 11:23-26)

12 Read John 11:23-26. Martha learns that Jesus is near Bethany. She rushes out to meet him and says: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) True, he could have healed Lazarus. But Jesus has in mind doing something even more remarkable. He promises: “Your brother will rise.” He also gives Martha further reason for believing in his promise, saying: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Yes, he has God-given power over life and death. Earlier, he raised a young girl shortly after her death and he also raised a young man, apparently on the day the man died. (Luke 7:11-15; 8:49-55) But can he resurrect someone who has been dead for four days and whose body has begun to decay?


Jesus felt deep compassion for his grieving friends (See paragraphs 13-14)

13. As recorded at John 11:32-35, how does Jesus react when he sees Mary and others weeping? (See also picture.)

13 Read John 11:32-35. Picture what happens next. Mary, Lazarus’ other sister, goes out to meet Jesus. She repeats what her sister said: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She and others with her are grief-stricken. Seeing and hearing them weeping, Jesus is deeply saddened. Moved by tender compassion for his friends, he gives way to tears. He understands how painful it is when a loved one dies. Surely, he is eager to remove the cause of their tears!

14. What can we learn about Jehovah from Jesus’ reaction to Mary’s weeping?

14 Jesus’ reaction to Mary’s weeping teaches us that Jehovah is a God of tender compassion. Why can we say that? As we saw in the preceding article, Jesus perfectly reflects his Father’s thinking and feelings. (John 12:45) So when we read that Jesus felt such deep compassion for his grieving friends that he wept, we may conclude that Jehovah too is deeply moved by our tears of sorrow. (Ps. 56:8) Does that not make you want to draw closer to our tender God?

Jesus demonstrated his power over death (See paragraphs 15-16)

15. As reported at John 11:41-44, what happens at the tomb of Lazarus? (See also picture.)

15 Read John 11:41-44. Jesus arrives at the tomb of Lazarus and asks that the stone covering it be removed. Martha objects, saying that the body must smell by now. Jesus replies: “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39, 40) Jesus then raises his eyes and prays publicly. He wants to give Jehovah all the credit for what happens next. Then Jesus calls out: “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus walks out of the tomb! Jesus has just done what some thought would have been impossible.​—See study note on John 11:17.

16. How does the account found in John chapter 11 strengthen our faith in the resurrection hope?

16 The account found in John chapter 11 strengthens our faith in the resurrection hope. How so? Recall Jesus’ promise to Martha: “Your brother will rise.” (John 11:23) Like his Father, Jesus has the desire and the power to fulfill that promise. His tears revealed that he has a heartfelt yearning to undo death and the sorrow that it causes. And the moment Lazarus walked out of the tomb, Jesus again proved that he has the power to raise the dead. Also, think about Jesus’ reminder to Martha: “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) We have sound reasons for believing that God’s promise of a resurrection will come true. What, though, can we do to make this hope even more real to us?


17. What should we keep in mind when we read Bible accounts about the resurrection?

17 Read about and meditate on past resurrections. The Bible describes eight resurrections of people raised to life on earth. c Why not make a careful examination of each account? As you do, remember that these were real people​—men, women, and children. Look for lessons you can learn. Think about how each example demonstrates God’s desire and power to restore the dead to life. Above all, reflect on the most important resurrection​—that of Jesus. Remember that his resurrection was confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses and gives us a solid basis for our faith.​—1 Cor. 15:3-6, 20-22.

18. How can you make good use of our songs about the resurrection hope? (See also footnote.)

18 Make good use of “spiritual songs” that mention the resurrection hope. d (Eph. 5:19) These songs make the resurrection more real to us and strengthen our faith in this precious hope. Listen to them, practice them, and discuss the meaning of the lyrics during your family worship. Etch the lyrics in your mind and heart. Then if you face a life-threatening trial or lose a loved one in death, Jehovah’s spirit will help you to recall these songs and draw comfort and strength from them.

19. What may we imagine about the resurrection? (See the box “ What Would You Ask Them?”)

19 Use your imagination. Jehovah has given us the ability to picture ourselves in the new world. One sister explains: “I have spent so much time imagining myself in the new world that it is as if I could smell the roses blooming in Paradise.” Imagine meeting men and women of faith from Bible times. Whom are you looking forward to meeting? What questions will you ask that person? Imagine also being reunited with your loved ones who have passed away. Picture details about the reunion​—the first words, the warm embraces, the tears of joy.

20. What should be our determination?

20 How thankful we are for Jehovah’s promise of the resurrection! We can be sure that this promise will come true, for Jehovah has the desire and the power to fulfill it. Let us be determined to keep strengthening our faith in this precious hope. By doing so, we will draw ever closer to the God who, in effect, promises each of us, ‘Your loved ones will rise!’

SONG 147 Life Everlasting Is Promised

a If you have lost a loved one in death, no doubt the resurrection promise brings you much comfort. How, though, would you explain to others why you believe in that promise? And how can you make the resurrection hope even more real to you? The purpose of this article is to help all of us to strengthen our faith in the resurrection hope.

b The music video is entitled Just Around the Corner and was featured in the November 2016 broadcast.

c See the box “Eight Resurrections Described in the Bible” in the August 1, 2015, issue of The Watchtower, p. 4.

d See the following songs in “Sing Out Joyfully” to Jehovah:See Yourself When All Is New” (Song 139), “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!” (Song 144), and “He Will Call” (Song 151). See also on the original songs “Just Around the Corner,” “The New World to Come,” and “You Will See.”