I Am the Resurrection and the Life: Do You Believe This?, Part 2

Brian Mahon - 9/4/2022


Call to worship: Ezekiel 37:1-6

Text: John 11:28-46


In continuation of His movement toward raising the deceased Lazarus, Jesus encounters more grief beneath the hope of belief in Him and basic biblical reality---and it causes Him to respond with a sinless mixture of both anger and sorrow. Called to Him, Mary quickly goes, and her consolers with her, to Jesus, near the tomb of Lazarus. With the intensest affection, Jesus begins a series of commands, first, to some who would remove the stone, then, by way of reminder, to Martha's disbelief, that she believe; next, having made His continual communion with the Father visible to all, having drawn-in the reality of God's attendance, presence, and affirmation, He commands the dead man himself! And Lazarus is raised! Finally, as he then lived again, Jesus commands attendants to exchange his grave clothes for apparel befitting life. By His Word, mixing in the actions of people, Jesus has raised the dead! He is the Resurrection and the Life! And His earlier question to Martha is intended to be raised again: do we believe this? Some did. And some, nonetheless admitting that this deed had been done by Jesus, did not. The issue is put to the world, bearing eternal consequences.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus meeting with undue despair: grief and disbelief. (11:28-37)
  2. Jesus moving for His due praise: Lazarus raised to life! (11:38-44)
  3. Jesus making unbelief unbelievable: Do you believe this? (11:45-46)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read John 11:28-46.
  2. What can we draw from Mary's responses to Jesus in 11:29, 32b, 32c? How would you characterize her faith in Jesus? How would you characterize her weeping---and with it, the weeping of those who had come to console her?
  3. What might Jesus see in it? How does He respond to it? What do we learn about Jesus on the basis of His affections here, both His 'indignation' ('deeply moved' is more like perturbed, angry) and His grief (His weeping)? If He's indignant, at what is that the case? If He knows what He's about to do, ie, raise Lazarus from the dead, why does He weep? How do the responses in 11:36-37 further reveal true but rather disbelieving conclusions?
  4. How does John show his desire to communicate that Lazarus is absolutely dead? When Jesus commands them to remove the stone, how does Martha respond? How should we judge her response from what she professed earlier to believe? How does the disparity address us? How is faith required for seeing the glory of God? Some see this sign, but do not believe. What then does Jesus mean in His response to Martha (11:40)? Why does He address the Father? How does the episode conclude? By what does Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? How is this event a type and foretaste of spiritual and eventual resurrection?
  5. In 11:45-46, John gives us immediate responses. What are they? Do those who tattle deny that Jesus has done this? How is it possible to know He's done this and, yet, not believe in Him? What is our understanding of this awful reality called unbelief? What must occur in order for someone to believe? Pray that Christ would reign in resurrection power in the hearts of many now who live in unbelievable unbelief.
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