WEEK TWO – EXTENDED REFLECTION OF PASSAGE
Insights on Jesus Weeps (John 11: 1-37) NIV
NOTE FOR GROUP LEADER: With the group, read or listen to the passage again and discuss any, or all, of the reflection questions. Items needed: Reading passage and questions
(John 11: 1-37) NIV
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem,19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Questions for reflection and discussion:
- Mary and Martha have just lost their brother; how do you think they feel?
- When Jesus is informed that Lazarus is sick, He replies “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” What do you suppose he means by this?
- Why do you suppose Jesus remained where He was for two more days before going to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha?
- Why do you suppose Jesus is returning to the place He was stoned?
- Discuss Jesus’ words: “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” What do you suppose He means? (Hint: Jesus is the light.)
- Jesus says to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Discuss what Jesus means by this? Do you believe what He is saying? Why? Why not?
- Martha says, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” What does she mean?
- Do you believe in the resurrection of the body on the last day? Why? Why not?
- When is the “last day”?
- The disciples misunderstand Jesus when He says that “Lazarus is asleep.” Jesus then clearly says: “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” What is Jesus foretelling?
- Why does Jesus say to them, “for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”?
- The passage says that when Jesus saw Mary and several other Jews weeping, he was “deeply moved and troubled…” Why do you suppose that He reacted this way – especially knowing that He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead?”
- When Jesus arrives at the tomb, “Jesus wept.” Does this make sense? After all, this is the moment when He will raise Lazarus from the dead. Should this not be a time of joy? Explain. Why do you think that Jesus wept?
- What events does the raising of Lazarus prefigure in Christ’s life and in our lives?
NOTE TO GROUP LEADER: At the end of the session, you may want to allow the group to have a few moments for open discussion about the session and what it may have meant for them.