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LESSON 13 - ETERNAL RESTORATION (JOHN 11:1-44)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard. This
lesson can be found at: <URL:http://www.cameronlaw.com>

INTRODUCTION: This week we come to the last of our lessons on
healing.  I have enjoyed learning more about healing.  However, I
am grateful that next week we begin the study of a book of the
Bible: 1 Corinthians.  I love to get back "on track" by studying a
book rather than studying a topic.  For our last study about
healing we look at what is probably Jesus' most famous "healing."
Let's dive in!

I. THE PROBLEM

     A. Turn with me to John 11:1-6. Read. Is v. 6 out of place?
     You know these "tests" which give you a list of items, (for
     example, bananas, apples, pineapples and broccoli), and ask
     you which one does not belong in the list? Is verse 6 like
     broccoli!

          1. If you think v. 6 is out of place, why? (We have a
          list of all the reasons why Jesus would come. He loved
          Lazarus and the sisters.  They asked Jesus to come. One
          of the sisters, Mary, has been especially kind to Jesus.
          Jesus says in v. 4 that Lazarus will not die. So delay
          seems totally inconsistent.)

          2. Why did the sisters send for Jesus?  Did they send for
          Him because they believed He would come and cure their
          brother?

          3. Would you have delayed if you were the friend of
          Lazarus?

          4. If you did not know the end of the story, would you
          understand the delay?

     B. Read vv.7-10, 16. Do we now have a reason for Jesus to
     delay?

          1. If you thought that going to help Lazarus might kill
          you (compare John 8:59), would you delay? (No. I would
          not go. Delay would simply show that you could not make
          up your mind!)

          2. Why is Jesus talking about daylight?  Was He waiting
          for light to travel?
 
               a. Look at the context. In response to the disciples
               reminding Jesus of the danger that He might be
               stoned if He returned to the Greater Jerusalem
               suburbs, Jesus talks about sunlight.  What does
               this have to do with the disciples' warning?

                    (1) If they are throwing stones at you during
                    the daylight, you are less likely to stumble
                    over one of those stones?

                    (2) Does this mean that those who obey God (who
                    walk in the light) will not die?

                    (3) What does Jesus mean by "this world's
                    light?"  Not heaven's light, but this world's
                    light?

     (In John 9:4 Jesus says, "As long as it is day, we must do the
     work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can
     work." (NIV) We see that Jesus means that while He has life
     here He must continue to do the will of the Father.  The fact
     that daylight is measured suggests that Jesus believed that
     until "His time" had come He could not be killed.  A secondary
     meaning is that Jesus is the light of the world (John 9:5) and
     while He (the light) was present, He needed to continue to
     work.)

                         (a) Consider the person who says that he
                         is going to wait until he is old or dying
                         to give up his heart to Jesus.  Is Jesus'
                         comment about walking by day give us any
                         advice on that kind of attitude? (Jesus
                         suggests that this person (who is waiting
                         for the night) will stumble!)

     C. Read John 11:17-21.  Why did Martha say to Jesus (v.21)
     that if He had come Lazarus would not have died?

          1. Was she unhappy that Jesus had not honored her request
          that He come?

          2. Was she chiding Jesus?  Was she suggesting that Jesus
          could have come and saved her brother if Jesus had wanted
          to come? (I would have meant it as a complaint.  She knew
          about all of the miracles done for others -- people that
          Jesus did not know.  Here Jesus refuses to do a miracle
          for His friends.)

          3. Notice that later on in v. 32 Mary says the exact same
          thing to Jesus: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother
          would not have died."

          4. Why did Mary stay home (v.20) when Martha went out to
          meet Jesus? (It could be that she did not know that Jesus
          was present, but I think she was upset that Lazarus had
          died and Jesus had refused to answer their request that
          He come.)

               a. Do you know anyone who has been upset with God
               because a loved one died?

               b. Let's jump ahead and read vv.28-29.  Why did
               Jesus ask for Mary?  Why did she jump up right away
               if she was upset with Him?

                    (1) What lesson do you find in this? (That
                    Jesus continues to seek us even if we are not
                    happy with Him. Notice that when Mary heard
                    that Jesus was asking for her that she came
                    quickly.  Perhaps the mere knowledge Jesus was
                    asking for her helped to turn her attitude
                    around.)

II. THE PROMISE

     A. Let's go back now and read v. 21 again and the rest of the
     dialogue between Jesus and Martha in vv. 22-27.

          1. When Martha says in v. 21 to Jesus, "Even now," you
          can do something. What do you think she had in mind for
          Him to do?

               a. If you say that she had raising Lazarus to life
               in mind, how do you explain v. 24 where Martha
               talks about "the resurrection at the last day?"

               b. Is it necessary for Martha to have anything in
               mind? (No. I think this shows great faith on her
               part. Jesus has just apparently let her down.  She
               has no idea what to do, but she affirms that Jesus
               will know what to do and that God will do whatever
               He asks.  We need a faith like that of Martha!)

          2. Do you find Jesus making any promises in these verses?
          What promises do you find? (Jesus gives (vv. 25-26) two
          promises:

               a. That whoever believes in Him will live even
               though the person dies; and,

               b. This life after death will never again result in
               death.)

          3. What do these promises have to do with the current
          problem?  Why would Jesus say this now? (Jesus says His
          status as "the resurrection and the life" has something
          to do with curing the sadness of the sisters.)

     B. Read John 11:32-37.  If Jesus knew that He was going to
     raise Lazarus to life, why was He sad and crying? (He could
     not have been crying about the loss of Lazarus.  He showed
     that He loved Mary and Martha.  He showed that He cared about
     the human condition.)

          1. Did He really care since He delayed coming?

     C. Consider the two attitudes that we see. In v.21 Martha says
     to Jesus if you had been here this would not have happened.
     In v.32 Mary says to Jesus if you had been here this would not
     have happened. We then see this a third time in v.37 where
     complete strangers are asking how Jesus could have let this
     happen.  The strangers say if He can heal a blind man He could
     have healed Lazarus.  On the other hand we have Jesus weeping
     over the situation.

          1. Why does the Holy Spirit (through John) keep harping
          on this theme that Jesus could have prevented this
          tragedy if He wanted?  That issue is presented three
          times to the reader!

          2. Why does John want to show us that Jesus cried about
          the situation? (The Holy Spirit knows that in every
          tragedy we are going to ask God, "Why? You could have
          prevented this!  Why didn't you?")

               a. What is the answer to the thundering question,
               "Why did God allow this? (The first answer is "God
               cares about us.  He is (v.33) "deeply moved in
               spirit and troubled."  The second answer is (vv.
               25-26) that He will eventually make everything
               right.  The third and best answer is Martha's. In
               v.22 she essentially says I cannot explain why this
               happened. I trust whatever you decide Jesus because
               "God will give you whatever you ask.")

III. THE PROOF

     A. Read John 11:38-44.  Why does John tell us (v.39) that
     Lazarus had been dead four days? (This is a no fooling around
     miracle of bringing a dead and decomposing guy back to life!)

     B. Why is this miracle of "healing" in the Bible?

     C. How does this story rank in importance among the "healing"
     stories in the Bible? (This is THE healing story.  Anyone can
     say "I am life. Believe on me and you will live."   The proof
     that Jesus can do what He says is right here.  If he raised
     Lazarus to life, He can raise you and He can raise me.)

     D. Friend, this story has it all. Things go wrong in life.
     Illogical things happen. Those dear to us die. Sometimes it is
     easy to believe that God does not care about us and has not
     helped us.  But this story shows us that God cries with us.
     He sympathizes with us. He has a master plan both now and
     forever.  He has the power to give us life. Praise God He is
     a great God!
     E. Read Revelation 21:1-7 in closing.  He has the power.  He
     will do it. Come Lord Jesus!

IV. NEXT WEEK: New quarter, new study!  1 Corinthians: "The Gospel
Invades Corinth." Study!