of Life and Death
In our worship gathering on Sunday, we continued in our summer series “I AM: Facing Uncertain times with an ever-present God.” We’ve been learning how God can help us weather the storms of this season by being a steadfast anchor for us to cling to!
On Sunday, we checked out a new “I AM” statement of Jesus. John’s Gospel recorded how Jesus had received news about His friend Lazarus: he was sick. However, Jesus didn’t rush down to Bethany to heal Lazarus. By the time Jesus arrived there, this illness had already killed his friend. Everyone is grieved and distraught. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, runs to Jesus as His group enters the town, weeping:
John 11:21 “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
We see her sister Mary meet Jesus later, and she says the same sad implicit question Martha asked, back in verse 21 (John 11:32). Do we sometimes look at Jesus, like Mary and Martha did, and say “Did you hear my prayers? Do You care?” If Jesus loves us, why doesn’t He answer our prayers to rescue us from disaster?
Jesus’ response to Martha is to bring her hope by sharing who He really is, and what He can do. He proclaims:
John 11:25-26 ““I AM the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Jesus offers them hope, hope rooted in His very identity. And then, He proves it to them. Check out His amazing miracle in John 11:38-45! We learn this: our prayers aren’t always answered how we prefer. But that doesn’t prove God is negligent or cruel or doesn’t exist. God is not Santa Clause. He’s not a genie granting wishes. He’s a loving Father who knows what’s best for us, even when we don’t (Luke 11:11-13).
Take some time to think about your response to Jesus’ actions here, Jesus’ teaching, and to Who Jesus is. Remove distractions, find a place to be still, and tune your ears for His voice.
- Has there been a time when God answered your prayer request(s) differently than you would have originally preferred? How did that feel?
- What did this teach you about how you view God? How your view prayer?
- Do you believe the claims in John 11:25-27 are true? Why?
- Jesus opened access to the great realities of eternal life for us. In what ways are you experiencing Jesus’ “abundant life” right here and now? How might that be “proof” of His claims in John 11:25-26?
Bible Reading Plan for the week
The events of John 11:1-44 mark a turning point in John’s Gospel and in Jesus’ ministry. There was no turning back now. Grow in God by soaking in these Scriptures describing what resulted from Jesus’ actions in John 11! *Use an easy-to-read printed Bible, or even an audio bible while you exercise or commute! (or explore other Bible reading plans). Enjoy!
- Monday, July 13 John 11:45-57
- Tuesday, July 14 John 12:1-11
- Wednesday, July 15 John 12:12-19
- Thursday, July 16 John 12:20-36
- Friday, July 17 John 12:36-50
Explore, learn, and grow more!
Read a webpage version of these thoughts, and find many more resources, on our Revive webpages at neighborhoodchurch.com
Learning alongside you,