We’re returning to John’s gospel. We last read it two years ago from chapter one through to chapter 13. Our study this time will take us from chapter 14 to 21 but we begin today in chapter 11. This is because we are beginning our church mission week and have prepared to preach from chapter 11 on the first Sunday and from chapter 14 on the second Sunday.
As we meet in our groups this week, I would like us to read through chapter 11, verses 1 to 44 and lead your group into a time of praying specifically for the church mission and all the events that are taking place.
Read through John 11:1-44 before going through the following questions…
1) Who is Lazarus? Look at verses 1 to 3 and note down all that we are told about Lazarus. Note that the event of Mary pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet may refer to an event in chapter 12 which HAS happened from our point of view but has not happened yet in the timeline of the story. It could also refer to an unnamed woman in Luke 7:36-50 who therefore is named by us as Mary.
2) Re-read the story and put yourself into the shoes of each person that interacts with Jesus. Discuss what Jesus says and how others would have understood his words. We know that the story ends with Lazarus rising from death but so many people in the story do not know that this is what is going to happen.
3) Now read the passage again and comment on what Jesus is really saying when he speaks. Jesus knows the outcome of this story before anybody else does.
4) Reflect on verses 25 and 26. Just like the characters in the story, we can sometimes read into Jesus’ words something less that what he means. Do you believe what he says? How should this teaching change the way we think and act and be?
- Thank God for the lesson of today’s passage.
- Confess to God that we take our eyes off Jesus’ greatest gift and focus so intensely on the small things of life (not that these things are not worth bringing to God but that we take our eyes off the resurrection).
- Ask God to help us all during mission week to bring people to Jesus.
6) Challenge your group to memorise John 11:25-26.