Wow! That’s the word that came to mind every time I checked in on my blog this past week. You girls are AMAZING. Thank you for the time you have taken to really dig into your homework, for being vulnerable and sharing, for asking hard questions. And thank you for encouraging and praying for one another and me. Many of you shared sweet God stories about how He led you here because it’s exactly what you were struggling with and praying for. I stand amazed at what God has done in just one week knitting hearts together from all over the world through His Word and His Holy Spirit.
You have truly blessed this Bible teacher!!
This week we study the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John Chapter 11. So many rich truths and promises to glean from this story, sweet friends. So, let’s begin! Below please find my 15 minute Week Two message.
Heavenly Father, continue to open my eyes and my heart to understand the lessons to be learned from this family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus and to apply them in my own life. Help me to come to know You better God as You seek to work in my life, especially in the “wait” times. Sometimes it’s hard to see You in the “wait.” I want everything now; my prayers answered the way I ask when I ask. As I open my Bible to study these stories, open my heart fully to receive Your Truth. Help me to hear Your voice. Reveal Your character to me. Give me understanding beyond my years. Tender and humble my heart to see those places in my life where I am not understanding and living in Your ways. I love You, Lord, and thank You in advance for all You will do in my life as I open Your Word and study.
1. Explain how each sister reacted to the arrival of Jesus after their brother’s death.
2.. What does this say to you about each woman? What further insight does it give you into their personalities?
3. Has Martha changed at all since we last met her in Luke?
4. How did Jesus respond to each of them? What does this tell you about Jesus?
5. Why do you think Jesus did not immediately answer the prayers of Mary and Martha?
a. Do you think Jesus waiting to come until after Lazarus had died changed their opinion of Him during that “wait” time? If yes, how?
b. If you had been Mary and Martha waiting on Jesus to come and heal your brother, what would have been going on in your heart as time passed, and He never came or sent word?
6. Consider times in your life when you have prayed and asked God to intervene, and He has not.
a. Like Mary and Martha, do you wonder where God is, why He has not answered, or why He seems to not be at work? Be honest and share your thoughts.
b. What does this story teach you about being in the “wait” with God?
7. What do the following verses promise us about this in-between time in which we sometimes find ourselves?
a. John 16:33
b. Romans 5:3-5
c. Romans 8:28
d. James 1:2-4
e. 1 Peter 1:6-7
8. Like Mary and Martha when they were waiting for Jesus to respond to the message they sent about Lazarus, sometimes we too find ourselves waiting to hear from God. In these times, we wonder if He even hears us; we struggle with trusting Him. We must remember that we are limited by time and space; God is not. We only see our little part of God’s big picture. A current day evangelist, Martha Tennison, said, “We only trust people we know. If you’re struggling to trust God, it may be because you don’t really know Him.”
Has God disappointed you? Have you lost someone you love and cannot understand how He could let that happen? Do you pray the same prayer repeatedly and see no change? Look up the following verses and share what they reveal about God.
a. Psalm 27:1
b. Psalm 34:18
c. Psalm 100:5
d. Psalm 145:8-9
9. Jesus kept using the Word “believe” throughout this entire story. What was it that Jesus wanted them to believe? Do you think He got His message across. If yes, why?
10. Is there something God is asking you to believe right now? What is it? Write a prayer below giving that over to Him. Ask a godly friend to pray with and for you to believe God at His Word in your circumstances.
If You Want to Go Deeper
11. We see events from our perspective whereas God sees everything all at once…past, present and future because He “was, is and always will be.” Should that make a difference to us when we don’t immediately hear from God or receive a quick answer to our prayer? If it should make a difference, why should it? How can this knowledge help us be more patient and trusting in the “wait.?”
12. Read Isaiah 55:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:12. How do these verses speak to being in the “wait?”
As we come to the end of this story, at Jesus’ command, the One Who told Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” a dead man came back to life! Their brother was alive. Their prayers had been answered even more abundantly than they could have thought to ask. Martha came to understand Jesus in a richer, deeper way through the resurrection of her brother. She now knew the meaning of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life in a new way!
In closing, John wrote these powerful words: Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in Him.
If Jesus had not had not allowed Lazarus to die, the “many” might not have put their faith in Him. Lazarus had to die; Mary and Martha had to experience deep grief so that “many” would put their faith in Jesus.
Why do we study this story? Because it reveals what being in God’s wait and what being in God’s Word, listening to His voice, does for us. When you doubt God. When you cannot understand what He is doing. When you question whether He even hears your prayers. Remember this story and God’s faithfulness. Then, go to His Word. Sit quietly with Him. It’s in His Word that you will find the answers to your questions.
God shows us through stories like these that He never abandons His children. He has not abandoned you. He is at work. He always has a purpose. He always has a plan…a plan much bigger than our circumstances.
Without being in His Word, sweet friends, we won’t know His character. Without knowing His character, we cannot trust Him. It’s critical to sit at the feet of Jesus. It’s at His feet that He prepares our hearts for the difficult times to come and that He speaks Truth into them when they arrive.
I’ll be praying for you this week as you get to know God and Jesus through John’s story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Please stop by throughout the week and share your thoughts, wisdom and prayers.
Blessings to you,