Read John 11:1-16
As we read these verses, what are some of the main points that we can learn from them?
- As Lazarus grew very sick, Mary and Martha immediately turned to Jesus for help. How quickly do we turn to Jesus today when we need help of any kind?
- Despite hearing the news, Jesus chose to wait another two days before returning to Judea. We need to accept that God will answer in His way and in His time. Too often we expect immediate results, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
- The disciples are afraid of what might happen when they return to Judea. But are they afraid for Jesus, or for themselves, and is this really a lack of faith on their part?
- How strong is our faith when we are discouraged or afraid?
- All too often when we think of Thomas, we do as ‘Doubting Thomas’. Here he openly demonstrates his love and courage far beyond any of the others. How can we take encouragement from this?
- There are often high costs to pay as a disciple of Jesus – are we willing to pay those today?
Read John 11:17-37
What are the really important verses in this portion of scripture and what do they reveal to us?
- Immediately in verse 21 we have Martha’s acknowledgement of who Jesus is. She knows Jesus could have saved Lazarus and believes that even now He still could. Yet when Jesus says that Lazarus will rise again, Martha immediately thinks of the belief held in those days concerning the Resurrection, that it would happen at the end of time.
- Jesus, however, has the power over life and death now, and reminds Martha of this, and in verse 27, gives Jesus the response that He is seeking.
- Martha was best known as the sister who was always busy and had little time to sit with Jesus (see Luke 10:38-42), but here she shows tremendous faith in her confession of Christ. How does our faith compare to this?
- Later when Mary comes to meet Jesus, she responds as her sister did.
Read John 11:38-44
- Despite her confession of faith, we again seem to see some doubt in Martha when she reminds Jesus that Lazarus had been dead for four days. Or was she just being practical and pragmatic here?
- The fact that Jesus reminds her of what He said about the glory of God suggests that there was this small element of doubt. But just how practical and pragmatic can our faith be?
- Jesus knew exactly what He was doing in delaying going to Bethany. He was fast approaching His time, when His glory would be revealed once and for all and this was an opportunity to do a great thing that many might Martha and Mary might now believe without having any doubts.
- So often in our lives it is only when wonderful things happen that we too finally truly believe in exactly who Jesus was and is.
- Real faith, however, involves believing in Jesus all of the time and in trusting Him in all things, large and small, and because of the Gospel witness of people like Martha and Mary, we can do so without seeing these miracles for ourselves.