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Community Group Questions | John 11:28-44 | May 10, 2020

800px-Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_-_The_Raising_of_Lazarus_-_Google_Art_Project

What do we do when Jesus let's bad things happen?  John 11:28-44
Rev. Scott Mitchell, Pastor of Community Formation

God intends to change you by His Word. How is He at work in you to do that?  Read the following passage and consider these questions. 


READ

John 11:28-44 (ESV)

[28] When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” [29] And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. [30] Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. [31] When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. [32] Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” [33] When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. [34] And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” [35] Jesus wept. [36] So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” [37] But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

[38] Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. [39] Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” [40] Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” [41] So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. [42] I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” [43] When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” [44] The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

QUESTIONS (40 minutes)

  1. Have you ever prayed for something you really wanted, but God didn't answer you in the way you hoped? Share an example from your own life. 
  2. God will glorify himself is all situations. The fact that God will glorify himself through our difficulties and suffering is hard (and harsh) to hear in the midst of personal agony. Read John 11:4. "But when Jesus heard it he said, 'This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.'" To whom did Jesus say this?
  3. Pastor Scott reminded us that God ministers to us as a kind and loving Father "who is moved by the tears that we shed; the heart of Jesus is moved by your sorrow." (cf. Lamentations 1:20; Habakkuk 3:15).  Before raising Lazarus, Jesus engages with Lazarus's sisters, Martha and Mary.  Jusus interacts with Martha and Mary very differently.  How does Jesus respond to Martha, and how does he respond to Mary?  What does this teach us about Jesus?
  4. Jesus saw Mary weeping he was "deeply moved"  "Deeply moved" in Greek is ἐμβριμάομαι (embrimaomai) which means to be moved with anger, to admonish sternly, be indignant.  The word picture is of a horse that snorts in rage.  Take a moment to share an area in your life that your thankful God knows your sorrow and he is moved deeply by your sorrow.
  5. What does Jesus do immediately before raising Lazarus from the dead?  How does Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?  What can we learn from this scene about the power of prayer and the power of God's voice? 
  6. How is the raising of Lazarus from the dead good news for all those who believe in Him?

Doctrine:  Resurrection: The impartation of new, eternal life to a dead person at the end of time (or in the case of Jesus, on the third day after his death). This new life is not a mere resuscitation of the body (as in the case of Lazarus; John 11:1–44), but a transformation of the body to an eternal state (1 Cor. 15:35–58). Both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected, the former to eternal life and the latter to judgment (John 5:29).

PRAYER (15 minutes) 

  1. Take a moment to internalize the truth that God knows our story, our personality, our pain, and our unique needs.  Jesus doesn’t deal with us generically.  He deals with us in a wonderfully personal way.
  2. Pray for one another as a community group. Updates? Encouragements? Trials? Sadness? Joys?  Needs?