(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 13th – 19th August 2018)
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 11:1-27
Some Context: Mary and Martha lived in Bethany. Previously Mary had anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. Now their brother Lazarus ill and they send for Jesus. Then he dies, and Jesus raises him from the dead. The story is not so much about Lazarus but about those who have to live with death, in this case Mary and Martha. This time in anyone’s life can leave us with the “Lord, if you had been there…” questions in our lives. Resurrection didn’t start with Jesus – it goes back as far as the book of Daniel (12:2) – it was a belief, and idea, held by the Pharisee’s of the day but not a reality. The Greek word for believe is ‘pisteuo’, which also means ‘trust.’ Resurrection has now become a reality – belief becomes a matter of trust.
1. Why do you think the raising of Lazarus caused so much alarm for the Jewish religious leaders, so much so that not only was Jesus a wanted man but so was Lazarus (see 12:9-11)?
2. Facing death, particularly for the first time, can raise many questions and fears. Share how such a time in your life impacted your understanding of God?
3. As with all the I AM sayings Jesus is in conversation with someone. Knowing what led him to Bethany and the conversation with Mary, what do you think Jesus wanted Mary to feel and know?
4. Read verses 25-26 again and this time replace the word ‘believe’ with ‘trust’. Does this give you a new insight? If so, what? – share your thoughts.
5. Karl Barth likens his relationship with God to a person who rings the bell in the village. If you lose your balance and fall into the abyss catching the rope will result in a loud gong shattering the silence of the still night – in times of desperation we can still reach out and discover the sureness of God’s presence. Have you ever put your trust in God in a way that feels like clinging to a rope?
6. Think about the difference between Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus was brought back to this life. Jesus was raised to a resurrected life. What is the difference between resuscitation and resurrection to you?
7. In your faith journey have you experienced letting go or ‘death’ in order for God to give you new life? Share with our group.