Grace and Grief Call for Lifelines

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Gathering

Who first modeled grieving for you? How were you able to overcome the “Big boys don’t cry” myth? Or have you? 

 

Backstory

The miraculous signs and “I am” sayings—a trademark of John’s Gospel—all point to the special unity and glory shared between Jesus the Son and God the Father. These signs invite a decision in response to Jesus by those who take care to notice. In this chapter, Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life,” then proceeds to say Lazarus “will rise again”—reflecting a common belief in a general resurrection, meant to comfort mourners. Jesus then turns their attention from such generally held beliefs to the specific work he will do. Jesus’ divine authority and special commission are in view here, but only a few get it.

 

God’s Story 

Have one person read John 11:1-44 out loud. 

 

Finding My Story in God’s Story 

Who do you most identify with in this story? How so? 

  1. The disciples—anticipating more violence, not tenderness from Jesus.
  2. Martha—quick to speak, swayed by circumstances.
  3. Mary—playing it safe, wondering “what if….”
  4. The mourners—grieving, hoping. 
  5. Lazarus—these grave clothes have gotta go.
  6. Jesus—actions speak louder than words. 

 

What do you make of seeing Jesus cry? 

  1. Confused—why cry if he’s God and about to do a miracle?
  2. Embarrassed and antsy—grown men don’t cry, we fix things. 
  3. Relieved—Jesus must have been the real deal.
  4. Comforted—by his vulnerability, tenderness, and empathy. 
  5. Other

 

As a member of Jesus’ band of followers, when news of Lazarus’ condition reaches you, how do you first react?

  1.   Lazarus is sick, but he’s in good hands with Jesus.
  2.   He’ll sleep it off, no big deal; he’ll be just fine.
  3.   For crying out loud, why the 2-day delay, Jesus?! 
  4.   I’m with Thomas ready to fight, take one for the team.
  5.   Other ________.

 

In the middle part of the story, Martha and Mary react to Jesus differently. What do you make of the differences?

  1. Women can be so emotional, so fickle.
  2. Who knows? I have no idea what triggers their reactions.
  3. One believes, the other does not, acts disappointed.
  4. Both are slow to catch onto Jesus’ true purposes and power.
  5. Other ________.

 

If you were one of the onlookers at the end of this story (vs 38-44), what surprises you the most?

  1.   The smell and 4-day time lapse
  2.   Tenderness—there is more to Jesus than raw power to raise the dead.
  3.   Unbelief—why did more people not put their faith in Jesus?
  4.   Belief—seeing that resurrection is enough for me to believe.
  5.   Other ________

 

Jesus claims, “I am the resurrection and the life.” For you, is that an empty claim, a big deal, or what? 

  1.     Jesus raising Lazarus means he can do that for anyone, even me.
  2.     Jesus’ tenderness toward the sisters means he can comfort me in my losses.
  3.     This gives me hope for eternal life here and now, not just with God in the hereafter.
  4.     Other ________.

 

What “old grave clothes” do you think, you must take off to experience true freedom in Jesus? Tell us why you think so.

  1.   Work through my grief for a broken or lost relationship. 
  2.   Stop clinging to emotional scars and past hurts.
  3.   Give up my unbelief, which causes anxiety about an uncertain future. 
  4.   Change my old beliefs that the resurrection life is just for dead people.
  5.   Other ________.

 

From seeing Jesus in action and the responses he received, what are you most inclined to do and tell others about? 

 

Our Story

Our beliefs about God and an afterlife, if we have them, tend to be abstractions or mental assents. How can this group help theoretical ideas about the future resurrection become practical life-gripping truths to help you—or someone you love—get through a tough week? 

  1.   Call or text me.
  2.   Pray for me as I _______________.
  3.   I will share truths about “the resurrection and the life” with my friend: _____________.
  4.   Other 

 

After seeing Lazarus and others die, I need help coming to grips with my own mortality by…. 

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