BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 2: John 11:1-16

Summary of passage:  Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick.  Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume.  She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan.  He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.

Questions:

3a)  He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.

4a)  To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear.  Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing.  Great lesson for us.  Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait.  Rely on God and His timing, not ours.

End Notes:  You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last.  Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot.  This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).

Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.

John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all.  Why?  Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone.  Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord.  He was in Galilee preaching.  The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.

Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus.  Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough.  They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would.  They had faith.

By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead.  He knew this.  He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.

Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.

He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day.  This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver.  This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.

Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar.  Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea.  But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God.  There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it!  No harm will come to them during this time.

Sleep is a metaphor for death.

Jesus is glad for many reasons:  grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!

God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.

Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River.  He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.

All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin.  Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname.  Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus.  He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 15, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10

Summary of passages:  1 Thessalonians 1:  Paul writes to the church in Thessalonians (a church he founded), telling them he thanks God for them and prays for them, remembering how their work is produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in Jesus.

God has chosen them as evinced by the power of the Holy Spirit and their deep conviction.  They welcomed the message with joy despite suffering.  The Thessalonians then became a model for Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere.  It is known how the Thessalonians turned from idols to the One, True God and how they wait for his Son to return from heaven–the one who was raised from the dead–and who will rescue all from the coming wrath.

Acts 17:1-10:  Paul preached in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, explaining and proving Christ had to suffer and was raised from the dead.  Some of the Jews as well as Greeks were persuaded and joined Paul.  The the Jews were jealous of Paul’s success so they rounded up a mob and rioted in the city.  They searched for Paul and Silas but did not find them.  Instead, they dragged Jason (whom Paul was staying with) and others before city officials, saying they have defied Caesar by declaring a new king called Jesus.  The officials were not happy but they released Jason and the others on bond.

Thus, Paul and Silas had to flee to Berea, where they preached in the Jewish synagogue.

Questions:

3)  Chapter 1, Verse 10; Chapter 2:19, Chapter 3:13, Chapter 4:14-17, Chapter 5:2, 23

4)  Lord Jesus Christ (verse 3) and faith in God (verse 8)

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  1 Thessalonians 1:3  because it reminds me of what my goals should be:  work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in Lord Jesus Christ

Conclusions:  Easy day of looking up verses.  Good lesson on showing appreciation and lifting up people with words.  Paul uses God’s truths to encourage and sustain:  a lesson we all need to learn from.  “Thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers”, “work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, endurance inspired by Jesus”, “He has chosen you”.

I think we can get so caught up in the hum-drum that we forget who we are working for:  God.  That we are doing God’s work no matter if it’s just a bank teller (a job I once held) or a grocery clerk.  That even when we’re pumping gas we can be God’s servant.

We forget how powerful God’s words are and how a simple “I will pray for you” can lift a stranger’s or a relative’s spirits.

How saying “I thank God for you” could be life-giving words to an unbeliever, someone who’s depressed, or is lacking direction in life.  I know there were times in my life where I was that desperate and those words could have impacted me dramatically.

Simple.  Effective.  Powerful.  Life-changing.

I think if I heard more, “He has chosen you,” from others I’d get a lot more accomplished, wouldn’t you?

End Note:  Once again, my favorite map, showing Thessalonica, Macedonia, and Achaia:

http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_02.htm