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Sermon Summary: We continue to walk through John chapter 11 and watch how this family responds to challenges and crisis and to see what God does in the midst. In last week’s bible study, we saw how Mary was in a different state than Martha. Martha responded to God’s presence and to his divine nature. Mary did not initially go to God. Mary needed to know – as we often do – that Jesus cared for her. He is fully God; he is fully human. In his interaction with Mary, we see his humanity. He continued to show his love; he called for her. And then, when she was unable to muster anything but her weeping tears, he grieved with her. Jesus wept.
In this sermon, we come to the point of praise. The family has been in grief and crisis and – as we often find ourselves – waiting on the Lord. The time, God’s time, has now come and we get to see God’s glory. He let’s us know that if we believe, we will see his Glory! (v40)
Responses to Christ (v35-37) Last week, week looked at Jesus’ seeking Mary and his tears as evidence of his care and compassion for us. Look at the two responses in verses 36 and 37.
Q1: What do you suppose prompted the response in verse 37? Have you ever had or seen a similar response to care, compassion or the presence of God?
Q2: Are you able to overlook negative responses to your heartfelt actions? Consider Psalm 37
The Stone and the Struggle (v38-39) Jesus has come, along with many others, to the tomb – the place of death. He commands the stone to be removed. Martha wrestles with her situation.
Q3: What does it mean to be in a place of death, failure or heaviness . . . a physical or mental place with heavy feelings?
In the sermon, we talked about the stones . . . the obstacles . . . that are before us that stand in our way. These are those things that can seem insurmountable and may stop us from moving forward.
Q4: What are some of the stones that we have in our own lives?
Q5: Do we ever – like Martha – fear the moving or removal of the stones? Have you ever found that the obstacles can sometimes be safer than the world without them?
Believe! (v40) Verse 40 is was the sermon’s focal verse. It contains both a question and a promise for those of us who profess Jesus Christ.
Q6: What is the question?
Q7: What is the promise?
Q8: What is the significance of Jesus saying/asking “didn’t I tell you . . .” to Martha?
Reflect on what it means for you to see the glory of God. Remember, our journey is a faith journey – not a knowledge journey. Our journey starts in faith.
See God’s Glory! (v41-44) In these verses we – and all present – get to see the glory of God. Lazarus is raised from the dead. In the same way, God can raise the dead and dying things in our lives.
Note that Jesus first commanded the removal of the stone.
Q9: Can you think of some stones that have been removed in your life? How were they removed? Even when removed, did you still find you sometimes had challenges?
Jesus then declares and communes with God the father in verses 41 and 42.
Q10: What is his purpose in making his public declaration? Why is it important for us to make public declarations (through words or deeds) about who God is?
Jesus declares and calls Lazarus out in a loud voice.
Q11: What is it like to get a clear and direct word from God about our conditions or circumstances? Have you experienced this?
God’s glory is revealed! The dead man rises and comes up and out from the tomb. The stone was rolled away (foreshadowing Christ’s resurrection). Reflect on the “Lazarus” moments in your life. Reflect on those moments when God has shown up in such a powerful way that it was a resurrection moment. When he did exceedingly and abundantly above all you could think or imagine.
Q12: When that occurred for you, was it a moment of thought? A moment of faith?? Did you see first or did you believe first?
Q13: What do we see in the text that shows that when we are liberated from one thing that we sometimes have other issues to deal with/work through? Have you found this to be the case for you?
Remember that Jesus came down from heaven to see about us. He loves us, cares for us and has experienced the trials of life. In times of crisis and strife, know that God loves you and will be with you. If we believe in him, we will see his Glory!