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From Pastor Eilers: Bible Study for Sunday, March 29, 2020-5th Sunday in Lent

(recording of the devotional, reading, and hymns will be posted tomorrow (March 26)

Notes on John 11: 1-45   Fifth Sunday in Lent

We have a clue as to the structure of this Gospel in 2:11 “This the first of his signs, Jesus did in Cana of Galilee…”  Is this the culminating sign or the one that sets the stage for the last sign?

  1. The Friendship (vss 1-6, 36)

The account of the meal served by a grumbling Martha is found only in Luke’s Gospel.  But the friendship of Jesus with this family is evident.  

Can you point out those clues of friendship in the text?

  • The Delay  ( vss 6-16)

Given the timetable which is mentioned later (4 days)  Lazarus may already be dead by the time the message reached Jesus.

What does the phrase, “This is not an illness that leads to death…” imply?

What is Jesus’ understanding of the situation? 

How might the delay of Jesus be misinterpreted by people then and now?

What does this possibly say to you about the difference between our timing and God’s?

  • The Conversation  (vss 17-27)

Three times the line is repeated that “If he had been there, he would not have died.”

Note how often grief is expressed in the “If only…”   What is happening for the grieving person when they process in this way?

Martha’s greeting could be heard as either a rebuke or a tribute.  How does it sound to you?

What does Martha believe?    What does she already believe about Jesus?

How does Jesus help ground Martha’s faith?

Note that Martha’s confession matches almost word for word the stated goal of the evangelist. 20:31

  • The Emotion (vss 28-37)

Martha herself goes to summon Mary, and does so with a whisper in her ear.

It would seem that this crowd of people, both gets in the way, but also prompts what Jesus does.

Bracketed on either side of the verse about Jesus weeping, are verses which refer to his deep agitation, the word implies anger.  It should be seen as part of the deep emotion, but distinct from the weeping.

Why is Jesus so agitated?      Does it have something to do with the crowd and lack of privacy?

How does the crowd interpret his weeping?    What attitude in the crowd is implied in the second opinion?

  • At the Tomb (vss 38-45)

Jesus prays, as is his practice.  What is the content of his prayer, and for whom does he pray?

Note the dissimilarity between this resuscitation and Jesus’ resurrection.  Here the stone has to be moved, then it was already moved.  Here the dead man has to be unwrapped, then the grave clothes are neatly folded in the tomb.     What benefit is there in people participating in these actions?

Jesus calls Lazarus by name, implying that the dead will hear and respond.

What do you believe on the basis of this story?

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