Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 57:1-6.
Read: John 11:1-27 — As you read in the ESV translation, note 1-3 insights/questions that arise.
Reflect: Were you able to stop reading at verse 27, or did you feel you wanted to find out more? Did you sense that something was missing and that perhaps something amazing was about to happen? Or maybe you know the story all too well—in which case take even more time to allow the text to soak in as you read the different versions each day. Look for things that repeat and for ideas that leap out. Ask yourself the question “why?” all through this text. Each section is a message on its own, and yet each section builds upon the sections that precede it.
The focus of the story is often all about Lazarus, but the adventure comes together in a Spirit-led sequence of events. Is this the right time to move forward? The apostle Thomas, commonly referred to as "doubting" Thomas, is the one who is willing to go when no one else wants to (John 11:16). Jesus knows that death awaits him (John 11:8). He is also deeply and personally connected to Lazarus, after all, this was home from home for Jesus. By the end of the chapter, the leadership have decided to kill Jesus, and by the next chapter (12:10), they are actively working towards killing Lazarus as well. N. T. Wright suggests in his commentary John for Everyone that the two were tied together:
And when Jesus thanks the father that he has heard his prayer (verses 41–42), I think he’s referring to the prayers he prayed during those two strange, silent days in the wilderness across the Jordan (10.40). He was praying for Lazarus, but he was also praying for wisdom and guidance as to his own plans and movements. Somehow the two were bound up together (p. 3).
Respond: Pray for vision for the adventure.
Research: What did the Jewish community at the time of Jesus understand death to be?