29 Jan Discussion Guide: Miracles Week 4
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today, we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the primary goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together?
This Week’s Topic
Today, we continue our series titled, Miracles. We are looking at some of the miracles, or signs, that Jesus Christ performs in the Gospel of John to see what those signs all those years ago have to say to the lives we live today. In the process, we are believing for miracle breakthroughs in our own lives, in our church, and in our city.
The Miracle of Believing
Do you have a friend you can rely on to show up no matter what is happening in your life or the world? What qualities does that person possess that inspire your confidence in them?
John 11: 1-4, 20-27, 32-35
Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was.
As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”
As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked. “Lord,” they told him, “come and see.” Jesus wept.
What do the expectations, actions, and emotions of Jesus, Martha, and Mary in John 11 expose about their regard for and relationship with one another?
What do you imagine Martha and Mary thought and felt when Jesus didn’t arrive in time to heal Lazarus? Did his late arrival impact their belief in him? Why or why not?
Given that Jesus confirmed from the story’s beginning that he would rescue and restore Lazarus, why do you think he felt troubled and wept after speaking to Mary?
“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”
Christianity is the only religion in the world that believes God comes to us as a loving friend, willing to suffer to save us. How does this story in John 11 support that claim? What does this story reveal about the friendship shared by Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus?
Have you experienced God as a friend to you in a time of need? How has your experience been similar to or different from Martha and Mary’s?
John 11:38-39, 41-44
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.
So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.” After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
The Greek phrase translated as “deeply moved” in John 11:38 literally means “to snort with anger” or “to groan with anger.” Jesus is angry and shaking, screaming at the tomb. Here we witness compassionate Jesus joining humanity’s great suffering just before revealing his divine power over death by raising Lazarus from the dead.
How should our daily lives be shaped by the belief that God comes to us as a friend who is both deeply compassionate and supremely powerful?
How can understanding God’s compassion and power grow our faith in him to do miracles in our lives?
How can God’s compassion and power strengthen our friendships with him and others?
Is anyone present in need of a miracle only God can do? Is anyone navigating a complicated friendship? Take some time and pray for those needs and for all of us to grow in our friendships with Christ and one another.