A New Life – “I am The resurrection and the Life”
Read John 11:1-57
The themes of “life” (“eternal life”) and “death” (“spiritual death” and “blindness”, as well as “believe”, operate very prominently is this chapter of John. Add to this references like “”God’s glory” and “the son must be glorified” (11:4), “daylight” (“light”), night (“darkness”) (11:9-10). The reference to “wake him up” “dead”, “believe” (11:12-13), as well as the fact that Lazarus was brought back to life – all of these themes – take us to the framework of the Prologue of John 1:1-18: The Son of God, the Creator, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of this world, came into the dark world of sin to give new life.
1. Read 11:2. The episode with Mary actually happened later (see 12:1-3). What do you think is the significance of adding this statement of Mary into this context?
2. Read 11:4-6. Why did Jesus not return to Bethany straight away. Remember the one He loved was very sick.
3. Read 11:7 and 11. After Lazarus died Jesus announced to his disciples that they are returning to Judea. What was their response?
4. Read 8:12, 9:4 and 11:9-10. What do you think the references to day (“light”) and night (“darkness”) mean? See also table on page 5.
Jesus assured his disciples that as long as they are with him, the light of the world, they are secure from stumbling. Until his hour arrives, Jesus and his followers will be protected from the threats of the Jews. Moreover, while threats are looming on the horizon, Jesus must continue to be about his mission.
The larger implication of Jesus’ statement in its original historical context is that “people should make the most of the presence of Christ” while He is still in their midst; a time will come when it is too late.
5. Read 11:15. What do you think Jesus meant when He said “I am glad I was not there”. How do you understand this in the light of the fact that John states that He loved Lazarus and his sisters?
6. We do not understand God’s eternal plan. We always want Jesus to be with us, and sometimes it appears as if He is not. Name situations when we might think He is absent.
7. Read 11:16. Do you think that, at this point, Thomas actually fully understood what he said? Also read 13:37 and 18:26-27.
8. Read 11:21. Taking into consideration what we discussed in question 6, being deeply grieved by the death of brother, what is the fundamental flaw in the remark of 21?
9. Read 11:22. What do you think Martha meant with the words, “God will give whatever You ask?” Take into consideration what she says in verse 24.
In the Prologue we pointed out that the gospel of John contains only very little commands; he prefers making statements. Even in this chapter of life and death John does not record a command like, “Believe in Me and you will live.”
10. Read 11:25. How does what Jesus say in this verse sum up the Gospel of John?
11. Read 11:25-26. Once again no command from Christ. He instead tested her faith with a question, “Do you believe this?” How does Martha’s statement “the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” takes us back to 1:9, 14, 29, 3:16, 5:21, 6:33, 51?
12. Read 11:29 and 32. What do we learn about faith Mary had in The Teacher?
13. Read 11:33-35. What do we learn from our Saviour in these verses?
14. Verses 36 and 37 (again – a peculiar mark of John) John records two reactions of the crowd. What were they, and how do we interpret each of them?
Now we see the Creator in the face of the effect of sin: death! The Son of the Living God stands at a tomb. It was in the darkness of night when the angles announced the birth of Christ; then they saw the Glory of the Lord; John in 1:14 says, “we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only”; 11:4 helps us to understand that life out of death is for the glory of God.
15. Read verse 40. Two words in this verse are theme words in John’s Gospel. How do these words stand in connection with the glory of God?
16. Read 11:41. How does Jesus see the mission He received from the Father fulfilled at the grave of Lazarus?
17. Read 11:44. Only our Lord could say these words. How is the Gospel embedded in these words?
18. Read 11:45-46. Again two reactions from the crowd. Keeping in mind the theme words of John contained in verse 45, what is the difference between those described in verse 45 and those in verse 46?
19. Read 11:50. In what way can we say that this verse is the climax point of the Gospel up to this point?
20. One last question. Read 12:23-26.
How were the words of our Lord fulfilled in his life as the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world?
What the implications of follow Christ as his disciple?
- The mission of Christ was to glorify his Father
- Those who die in Christ believing in Him will have eternal life
- Death has no power in the face of our Lord
- It was better that one Man die than that the whole nation perish
- The death and resurrection of our Lord guarantees a rich harvest
- The Father will honour those who serve the Lord, even unto death.