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AN EXPLOSION OF JOY: I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

AFTER THE DARKEST NIGHT

THE BRIGHTEST DAY

 

CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE THE JOY?

 


I know how I would feel if Steve came back to me — or how Chris would feel if her son came back — how so many of you would feel to have one you so loved and lost walk through the door…

I even dreamed it would happen — before each daughter’s wedding. But for me it was the fruit of denial, for I will not see Steve until that great day — but I will see him, because as Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) And I love that He also said, “If it were not so, I would have told you…” (John 14:2)

I think my favorite account in the whole Bible is in Luke 24 where the two disciples are in tremendous grief and Jesus walks up alongside them. They do not recognize him until later when He breaks bread — but they listen to this “stranger” explain the Scriptures to them — how every prophet, every priest, every slain lamb, every suffering servant…all pointed to Jesus. Christ had to suffer He explained. But later, when they recognized Him — OH!


Tim Keller said, “The disciples weren’t thinking: I cannot tell anyone because this might not be in line with their beliefs and might offend them…THEY SIMPLY COULD NOT HOLD BACK THIS EXPLOSION OF JOY!!!

How I pray you are singing today — you serve a risen Savior! Death could not hold its prey! He lives! He lives! Hallelujah — what a Savior!

I’ll keep the homework light this week because I know many of you are away or with family — but let us rejoice together, let us talk about the One who said, “I AM the resurrection and the life!” If you read this today, I have some discussion questions for your Easter dinner — but they could be asked anytime this glorious week of celebration.

Sunday/Monday

1. Do you have any comment on the above?

2. Christianity overturned the world. Never has there been a movement like this. And the only people who have claimed to be God, other than Jesus, had a small band of followers who ended up killing themselves. Christianity, J. B. Phillips said, “Has the ring of truth.” Can you come up with an answer to some of the following objections to the account of the resurrection?

A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement.

B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable? (Marcus Borg, who has influenced people I love, is one who says this is a fable. Keller quotes him and refutes him beautifully. There are false shepherds out there who do not love the sheep — and we need to be ready to show the intellectual reasons for the resurrection.)

3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why.

One of my husband’s partners was Mark Pinkerton, who now practices in Olethe, Kansas. Two years after Steve died, Mark and Tess’s teenage son was killed in a motorcyle accident. Last week I drove down to Olethe to see them. We loved each other before, but now we share a bond of grief. We know what it is like to lose one to whom you are knit. We talked about how we both read Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven and Joni Eareckson’s book on Heaven the week after the funerals…  (We talked about the books on heaven we didn’t like too!) We talked about how thankful we are that Jesus is The Resurrection and the Life — that heaven is real — that we will see the ones we love again.

Mark and Tess also decided to adopt after their son’s death. Three wonderful boys from Haiti! Oh — such fine sons — and I can only imagine what God is going to do with their lives. Here I am with Mark and with Zee — who is such a fine young fifteen-year-old!

Mark, Dee, and Zee

 

How do we go on after the darkest night?

Only by speaking the truth to our souls.

How did Martha of Bethany go on after Lazarus died?

Only by the truth that Jesus spoke to her.



Bible Study: Monday – Wednesday

Though the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying “The one you love is sick,” He intentionally stayed where He was. He can be such a mystery. Now He arrives.

4. Read John 11:17-27

A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

5. Reflecting:

A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?

 

Thursday-Friday

This sermon is a free sermon preached the week of 9/11 to grieving New Yorkers. This link will look like you have to buy it, but if you choose the MP-3 you will see the cost as 00.00

I also recommend this sermon for 2.50 if you like: Link

6. Share your notes and what you learned.

Before we leave The Great I AM’s, I’d like to have you contemplate, next week, how they relate to helping you overcome the idols of your heart. I’ll also show you the book cover to this book we’ve been studying on and working together on forever. I am so pleased with it and am eager to show it to you — but don’t want to distract from this great day — the best of the year.

You’ve been a wonderful group to journey with through Lent of 2012!

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217 comments

  1. Oh Dee, I am so excited about the book! What you have shared about the labor of this book, especially toward the end with the title, felt like the enemy was crushing it but it has come through like gold through the fire. It is very much like the gospel and the cross ending in the resurrection. I have chill bumps reading this post! JOY!

  2. Lord, how I rejoice that the dark night of our souls as the dark night of Your passion has broken forth in glorious day! YOU ARE THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE! Lord help me to live in this light every day of my life. May the light of Your glory shine forth in my life that others may be drawn to You.

    Something that stands out after just my first reading is the treatment of loss. We can’t ‘make it better’ as we want so much to do with our words, but we can lay hold of the HOPE which overshadows the loss. The hope that we celebrate this day.

    1. Anne, I so love your tender heart for Him-“how I rejoice that the dark night of our souls as the dark night of Your passion has broken forth in glorious day!” AMEN!

    2. Amen, Anne. So beautiful.

      1. I can’t wait, Dee!! Did I ever tell you, you are my favorite author?!

      2. So excited for you Dee, that this is finally coming to pass! Thank you Lord!

  3. Last night I lay saying -yes–…Joy comes in the morning–and He is here! Oh that we may all be exploding with joy–unable to contain Him. love this too, Dee “If it were not so, I would have told you…” (John 14:2)–yes, He has told us Truth–He is the Light, thank You Lord

    1. Amen Elizabeth! Joy comes in the morning-He is here!

    2. Oh, Elizabeth. So happy to see your beautiful face!

    3. Oh Elizabeth!! Love seeing your picture, and yes you are indeed beautiful inside and out!

    4. Love the new picture Elizabeth! You are soo beautiful! Joy comes in the morning indeed! Also I wasnt very joyful this morning.. But I pray that my morning is filled with Joy tommorrow cause his mercies are new every morning! I love you!

      1. you all are too sweet–decided to brave my pic on here-i know ifeel closer to you all seeing yourfaces–much love this glorious day

        1. Elizabeth,
          It’s so good to see your face – I’m glad you were brave! You are lovely and you look like you are about 18 years old! You have a beautiful smile, too!

    5. Beautiful! I keep clicking on the pictures here to make them bigger; you can tell I spend too much time on facebook. 🙂

    6. You are beautiful, Elizabeth

    7. Yes!

      1. Yes! (to Dee’s comment, above)

  4. Beautiful! Wonderful! Love it all-loved Mark and Tess’ story too.

  5. This week looks like another great one. I read this passage in John last week and knew I Am the Resurrection would be the one you would choose for this week! Looking forward to it.

    We had great fellowship at our Good Friday services (reading the gospel of John [publicly by readers] followed by a worship, message and communion, plus luncheon) and then this morning we had our Easter breakfast followed by worship service, despite a snowstorm overnight. I am just wondering what traditions your various churches have for Easter. Do you have Communion? Do you have Maundy Thursday services? We have done various things at various churches depending on traditions in the churches we attend. Easter is my favorite Christian festival, so rich in meaning.

  6. Hi Ladies! Happy Easter! He Lives!

  7. I wanted to share this song… One of my freinds sung this in church this morning.. It is long but I hope that you will listen and enjoy…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT-TG79htPg

    1. Beautiful message. My nails.

    2. Oh this is beautiful, Meg. I had not heard it.

  8. Excited for this weeks study. Love the picture of Lake Michigan. And seeing Zee adopted from Haiti…how great is it that they turned to adoption after losing their son. Warms your heart.

    Good news on my friend Ron, he is showing improvement – his blood levels are up, his blood sugar is down and he is feeling stronger and has an appetite. The tests showed he still has pneumonia in his right lung, and they are concerned about swelling in his abdomen and the condition of his kidneys and liver. So he is not totally out of the woods yet. Thank you for praying and asking about him!

    Hope everyone had an amazing Easter with Jesus. We spent it with my husband Steve’s parents, it was nice to have time with them and go to a Lutheran church – very different from our own church, but I like seeing the different expressions of faith. All worshipping the same Jesus!

    1. Oh Anne, I’m so happy to hear of Ron’s small improvements. Baby step are good! I’ll still be praying everyday for him.

    2. Anne, Awesome news about Ron! 🙂

    3. Will continue to pray. Didn’t see the post from last week until today but will be praying. Glad to hear of the improvement.

  9. 2. Christianity overturned the world. Never has there been a movement like this. And the only people who have claimed to be God, other than Jesus, had a small band of followers who ended up killing themselves. Christianity, J. B. Phillips said, “Has the ring of truth.” Can you come up with an answer to some of the following objections to the account of the resurrection?

    B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable? (Marcus Borg, who has influenced people I love, is one who says this is a fable. Keller quotes him and refutes him beautifully. There are false shepherds out there who do not love the sheep — and we need to be ready to show the intellectual reasons for the resurrection.)

    Our pastor gave a great sermon yesterday. In it he described how in Jesus’ day the women were not respected as they are today. Because the women were the ones to find the empty tomb, the story must be true. No Jewish man would ever want to admit that fact, but they had to – because it was true.

    Also, our pastor says that many did not believe the resurrection could have happened because of science. However scientists now (today) know there are many things that can’t be explained; parallel universes, dark matter, or black holes. It is now scientifically ok to accept the resurrection.

    Finally, many think the accounts are unreliable because they aren’t the same. Pastor Bill explains that one would be suspicious if they were all the same (like 2 criminals who get together the make sure their stories match). Small “inconsistencies” can be explained…..one says it was dark, the other daybreak. That just means they had to travel to the tomb and by the time they got there the sun had broken. There are others. It makes it more believable because they don’t match exactly.

  10. 2. A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement.

    Why would the disciples include in the story they didn’t believe the women when they told them the tomb was empty, and when the two went to tell the disciples that it was real, they still doubted. Then when Jesus appeared they thought he was a ghost. Made up stories aren’t told this way. If you read the account, they look really like slow, dumb sheep. They were slow to really get the Gospel. Jesus told them before he died that he would be resurrected, yet when it happened they still didn’t believe at first.

    Oh and the obvious observation is why would they make up the resurrection? Even they didn’t understand what it meant until He gave them understanding and opened their eyes.

    B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable? (Marcus Borg, who has influenced people I love, is one who says this is a fable. Keller quotes him and refutes him beautifully. There are false shepherds out there who do not love the sheep — and we need to be ready to show the intellectual reasons for the resurrection.)

    I think I might have given that above-but one example is Peter, he seems to be bumbling through the whole account from when he walked with Jesus all the way until the resurrection. Peter got up and ran to the tomb-saw the strips of linen wondering what had happened. After all of this he wondered what happened. When the angel told the women Jesus was risen, they remembered Jesus’ words and ran to tell the disciples what happened-they got it. Yet, when Jesus reminded the Disciples they were slow to get it, so if you were telling that story why would you put that in there, especially that women got it and the men didn’t-in that culture??

  11. that picture of the sun rise is mesmorizing! I love it! I think about the fact that the clouds are what makes the sunrise so beautiful…..could the “clouds” in our lives be what make us beautiful if we let the “son” shine through them.

    A. there are so many things….no broken bones, everyone who was crucified had broken legs, the darkness. the walking dead, the earthquake, the fact that 1000s died instead of stop telling about His love…..if you where His best friends you would have know if he was a fake, all the healed people, woman finding the body??(woman always prepared the body so im not sure why this is an issue? just cuz the writer actually said that they were the first to know?), the pentacost–people speaking in different languages so that the whole world could know, He said He was God which means HE was or he was a madman or a lier, he cant say that He is god, not be God, and then be a good person or a profit!, that even the man who was in charge of his death admited that Jesus was God, fullfillment of over 200 prophasies by one person would be a mathmatical impossability, the timing of His death on passover, the conversion of Paul…..i could go on but I won’t 😉

    1. My husband was commenting to me about the walking dead. He would like to know how many there were and how long did they live. 🙂

      1. i have no idea:) hows that for a great answer?!?!?!?

        1. Won’t it be great when we get to heaven and have all our questions answered?

  12. 1. Do you have any comment on the above?

    I AM the resurrection and the life – we learned that I AM, the name God gave Moses, is a Hebrew verb that means “to be”. I keep turning this over in my mind, then, all the I AM statements of Jesus, and this one. Jesus claims “to be” the resurrection and the life. I can say that I am alive, but only Jesus can say I AM life. Could spend the rest of my life contemplating!

    I was like Meg; I woke up Easter morning and did not feel “joyful”. (My introspective melancholic Luther personality) I read the account from each gospel about that first Sunday morning. It touched me to read about the women. They awoke before dawn and were prepared with their spices to go and take proper care of Jesus’ body. They still wanted to honor Him this way. When they say the stone rolled away, the angel, the body missing, they were afraid, bewildered. I love John’s account of Mary Magdalene weeping at the empty tomb, saying “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put Him.” Then Jesus Himself appears to her, and says her name in a way that she recognizes who it is.

    I can only imagine how the day began with sorrow and tears, then the bewilderment and wondering like is this really happening?…am I dreaming?…and there was fear, too, and unbelief as many refused to believe the women.

  13. 3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why.

    Yes! It is finished! Because He rose again my sins forever won’t be held against me-I won’t be judged, condemned, ever and I am His forever. Also, I have new life in Him. While I still struggle with the old man, the old man isn’t me anymore. I am being transformed into the image of Christ!! He will finish the work He has started in me!

    You know, what really encouraged me yesterday was that I was reminded how bumbling and stumbling Peter was-how aggressive he was cutting the guards ear off, how he totally messed up denying Jesus-and when he went to the tomb he wondered what happened! 🙂 Yet he was being sifted and God was working out all the stuff that was unseemly in him. He was in the process of being transformed..If you read the accounts of 1 and 2nd Peter-oh my! The transformation in His life!!! This is part of my joy, my hope! I know, I know despite my stumbling and clay feet-despite the times I failed like Peter going to my comfort idol, it is finished and I am His-I am learning to see these as opportunities to grow, to turn, to trust. I don’t want to stay where I am at and live a slow, lazy Christian life. I want to be like Peter and open my heart to His knife.

  14. 3. Im just not very good at the exlosive joy thing,,, but i am working on it:-)

    1. i cant even spell it…explosive joy thing:)

      1. Cyndi, 😉

      2. You’re too funny:)

  15. 2. A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement.

    These are hard for me, I am not a good apologist. The disciples were certainly challenging the old order of things – no more need for animal sacrifices to atone for sins, no more following the hundreds of laws the Pharisees had burdened the people with, no more excluding Gentiles from salvation. But to say your leader was a man who had been crucified, died, and then risen and returned to heaven so you can’t produce him for anyone to see in order to prove what you’re saying, and not only that, but to claim that your leader just happens to be God Himself. It seems they could have gone about it in an easier way than this. Also, if it were untrue, what gave them the power to perform the miracles they did?

    B. This is a beautiful fable – but it is not true. Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable?

    Fables have been around for centuries, and they always use animals that are given human characteristics (the ability to think and reason, speak). The purpose of the fable is to teach a moral lesson. It’s always concluded neatly at the end with the meaning of the fable. Example is Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare.
    The story of the life of Jesus does not “conclude” with a moral lesson. The accounts are of real people who had many weaknesses, like Peter denying Jesus. It’s “messy”, and how could anyone call the account of Jesus’ betrayal, death, a “beautiful fable?” There wasn’t anything beautiful about it, and if He was not God, then it was a tragic mistake, an injustice, or a man whose own insanity led to his being put to death.

    1. Susan, for not being a ‘good apologist’-you did quite well! Those are EXCELLENT observations. you just turned things upside down for them. you are right-why would they get a movement going that was totally the opposite of everything that was around them, everything they knew-opposite the old order of things. Good job!

      1. Thanks, Rebecca!

  16. 3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples – but is it for you?

    I’m not the “explosive joy” type – for me it is more a quiet hope. But that’s what I took comfort in Easter morning. The women who came to the tomb were not jumping up and down shouting hallelujah. They experienced all kinds of emotions; bewilderment; they were “afraid yet filled with joy”; Mary Magdalene tried to hold onto Jesus when He appeared to her, there were tears. Thomas initially refused to believe unless he could see Jesus with his own eyes. Even after Jesus had appeared to them, in John 21 (this was the sermon at church on Easter) says that Peter and several other disciples were fishing, and when Peter said, “I’m going out to fish”, our pastor said he wasn’t talking about an afternoon of fishing, but he meant he was returning to fishing, to being a fisherman.

    I think part of my problem is not having anyone to share with, in my close family, except my daughter, which was precious last week as we did part of this study together, and we looked up the passages together and one night went outside together to say those cries in the darkness. It makes me sad when my 18 yr. old son said to me, “Mom, I don’t believe or not believe, it’s that I don’t really care. Religion is dead with my generation.” Only my daughter and I went to church yesterday. I would feel more joyful if we shared our faith as a family, but I feel guilty, too, because I know my joy should not depend on what other people do or do not do.

    1. Oh Susan I understand, you just want so badly to be a family in Christ. Don’t put yourself down..you are a wonderful example for your kids. Your son is watching you, whether you know it or not and one day he will change and remember what mom use to say and do.

      1. Thank you for the encouragement, Joyce!

    2. I’ll pray for your son. I have a heart to pray for this generation, I know God is going to do great things through them and the devil just wants them to be apathetic.

      1. Susan I cried for you tonight I feel so bad that your daughter is the only one who goes to church with you and that you are havin a hard time with getting connected in church . I love you

  17. One thing that just struck me is if Mary Magdalene arrived while it was still dark to find the stone rolled away and the body gone, then that means that the Roman soldiers had already abandoned their post. If they had slept through the disciples rolling back the stone and taking the body then they had to have been extremely exhausted. Why then did they wake up while it was still dark? That would be like sleeping through a tornado then waking to the sound of a mosquito.
    If the story was as the Pharisees claimed then the disciples would have been greeted by Roman soldiers breaking down their door to arrest them, not a distraught woman. It would make more sense that some of the soldiers would have stayed at the tomb while others went to get the body back from the disciples and put it back before anyone found out that it had been taken. They wouldn’t have run off and pretty much signed their own death warrants.

  18. I am going to come back to #2—it is good for me. We have a lot of books on apologetics, but I am horrible at reading them! I have been convicted lately I do need to have a better response to such things—so this will be goodfor me to ponder…and pick my husband’s brain over 😉

    I’m also trying to limit typing—but had to respond to #3
    3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why.

    LOVE this picture, the heart of your friends, these precious boys.
    As I stood in church yesterday, Easter, I have never felt such joy—it was unlike any other Easter for me. In the past year, each word to the hymns hits a deeper layer than ever before. “No guilt of life, no fear in death-This is the power of Christ in me-From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man-Can ever pluck me from His hand. ’til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand”. My daughter said “I like Easter, I just don’t like all the sad days before it…” . But the older we get, we see that the sad days before, the pain, the suffering–are what give the depth of JOY to Easter. And we see that for Life to come, we must have death. For the Resurrection to happen, we must have the burial. For renewal of our hearts, we must be broken. It is all out of love, deep deep love. And Easter sings He did it, He is real, He is Truth-it is finished.

    I appreciate this quote from Mike Mason on joy—
    “I saw that if joy does not arise out of the midst of tragedy, it will not arise at all. Christian joy is rooted in darkness, chaos, meaninglessness, sorrow. Such joy isn’t just an airy ideal but a hard reality inextricably enmeshed with conditions in the real world. Separate joy from sorrow and there’s nothing left. I had so much wanted happiness to be tidier than this, cleaner and more innocent. True happiness, however, is like our physical bodies, tidy on one side the outer and messy on the other. The happiest thought in the world is the shed blood of Christ.”

    I have thought of Chris so much the past few days. When she mentioned a support group for “murdered” children—it struck anew how devastating that type of loss has to be. Yet, I see joy in her. It isn’t jump up and down joy—it is a deep, impenetrable, lasting joy built on faith. I love that in you Chris.

    1. Your last paragraph, Elizabeth – yes to every word!

      1. Oh Elizabeth, tears as I read your whole post, we too sang ‘In Christ Alone’ on Easter, I was reassured that in spite of my emotions, I can’t be plucked from His hand.

        This deeply resonates with me;

        “I had so much wanted happiness to be tidier than this, cleaner and more innocent”

        I cant go back to the sort of innocence I had before, and I truly grieve losing it. It is easy to imagine that the disciples felt the same way. I don’t understand why it all seems so messed up, how much more they must have felt this seeing Christ beaten beyond recognition crucified and buried. Certainly that was not innocent or tidy, or what they expected.

        Back at Christmas time I had been feeling similarly to how I felt at Easter. I shared with a friend who I respect, my dismay over my emotional flatness, she told me that though I might not feel happy, she clearly saw joy in me. I take comfort from that & from you words too.

        I have a cousin who was the father of a dearly loved young son named Isacc, I believe he was 10, who died of a brain tumor after a prolonged fight with cancer. He was the grandson of the uncle my siblings & I visited recently. His parents divorced, his mother blaming his father, and she later committed suicide.
        I do believe God has a plan, it keeps me from her sort of despair. There is a light at the end of my tunnel.

        The first paragraph of the study this week is hard for me to get past. It is excruciating to realize that even if that could happen, it would still not be perfection, we are sinners living in a fallen world, even having experienced such a loss, I acknowledge that I am still far from perfect in the way I relate to those I love. If I lost another of them I would have bitter regrets of lost opportunities for deeper relationships.

        It all does make the promise of Heaven sweeter to think of relationships free from pride, insecurities, selfishness & fear. To be completely known & completely loved, each of us shining like the facets of a diamond the way in which we were created in His image, reflecting it all back to Him for His glory.

  19. 3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why. I already shared this but yesterday when I woke up I didn’t feel joyful wasn’t sure why but when I got around my friends and was fellow shipping I was joyful and the has a most blessed time at my moms house!

  20. A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character? He had been dead 4 days and Jesus confronted him.

  21. 1. Do you have any comment on the above? So much truth in the Keller quote concerning the disciples. I also read that people knew the disciples had been with Jesus. I want people to whisper about me that I must be spending time with Jesus.

    2. Christianity overturned the world. Never has there been a movement like this. And the only people who have claimed to be God, other than Jesus, had a small band of followers who ended up killing themselves. Christianity, J. B. Phillips said, “Has the ring of truth.” Can you come up with an answer to some of the following objections to the account of the resurrection?

    A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement. I doesn’t seem like fishermen would desire to start a movement nor would anyone in their right minds leave everything for a cause let alone die the awful deaths they died for their religious beliefs if they knew them to be false.

    B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable?
    A fable is a very short story usually if not always, fables are stories having animal characters that talk like humans.

    3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why.
    For me the resurrection is a deep abiding joy bubbling up into gratefulness instead of an explosion.

    1. I forgot you were having a tea at your daughter’s home, I think? Were you and Joyce able to get together? I hope so!

        1. Susan, I get to see Dee speak tonight about her book, “God of all Comfort”. I couldn’t go to the coffee at Annies this AM as it was too much for me to go to both this day, as Kendra needs my help.
          But I am so blessed and excited to see Dee speak tonight after the dinner. The program is about cancer.

          I’m not sure if Kim is coming tonight, but she got to see Dee yesterday at a meeting about the bible studies Dee started many yrs. ago, that I belong to and Kim babysits for, so young mom’s can attend. My friend Nita, that said Hi one time here, is going with me tonight. She is a silent reader here. We are so excited to get to see Dee speak….the only thing that is missing is my sweet sister’s here on Dee’s blog. Wish we could all be together:( But your all in my heart, all the time.

  22. I may be way out in left field with my answers here, but here they are…

    Sunday/Monday

    1. Do you have any comment on the above? – I love the fact that I will be able to see my Risen Lord and Savior and again to see my dad, grandparents, niece and other family and friends that I have not been able to pick up a phone and call, or to have dinner with them in a long time.  I’m also sorry though that Jesus had to die in order for me to be able to have this right and privilege, knowing that I did not deserve to be free from my sins so easily but yet He did it anyway, because He loves me unconditionally and it makes me so relieved that I have another chance to do what is right as He has written it out for me.

    2. Christianity overturned the world. Never has there been a movement like this. And the only people who have claimed to be God, other than Jesus, had a small band of followers who ended up killing themselves. Christianity, J. B. Phillips said, “Has the ring of truth.” Can you come up with an answer to some of the following objections to the account of the resurrection?

    A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement. – I’m not sure what I would say to make the unbelievers believe, but maybe saying that you can make up stories, but when a person is walking and talking among people it’s a little hard to make that person disappear and not be real, when He’s right there breathing in front of you. The disciples were there walking and talking with Jesus after the Resurrection and yes they could of ignored it so people wouldn’t think they were crazy, but they loved Jesus and were so happy to have Him back among them that they didn’t care what others thought, they were filled with joy and amazement they wanted others to be able to experience that same joy.

    B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable? (Marcus Borg, who has influenced people I love, is one who says this is a fable. Keller quotes him and refutes him beautifully. There are false shepherds out there who do not love the sheep — and we need to be ready to show the intellectual reasons for the resurrection.) – I think the whole story of Jesus’ beating goes against this being a fable. Jesus did not fight back at this point so for some people this would make Him seem unheroic, he took the beating and cried out to God, very much showing the hurt and pain.

    3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so explain why. – YES it is. Jesus who knew NO sin, took my punishment so I would not have to do anymore in regards to my sin. He finished the job of my reconstruction and died in my place. I can only praise Him and lift Him up for what he did for me. Jesus I thank you from the bottom of my heart and will do my best to continue to grow and learn your Word and have YOUR glory shine thru me. In Your Name I pray. AMEN!

  23. 4. Read John 11:17-27

    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

    Lazarus was dead for four days. Martha confronted Jesus. I don’t know much about her. In another story, one sister cleaned, the other only listened to Jesus speak at his feet. Martha cleaned while Mary listened. This seems like it would be consistent with her character; she was a worrier. In the first story she worried about the clean house. In this case she is freting that Jesus could have saved Lazarus. She does have faith in Jesus though. She proclaims this as she speaks to Him. She was kind of an “aggressor.” maybe bossy?

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

    Her brother will rise. I’m not sure what this means. Jesus is performing another miracle. I’m not sure why He chooses Lazarus for the miracle. Weren’t they very good friends? Once again I go back to the women….if they told the story it must be true because they were disrespected in this culture. People would believe the miracle if they weren’t there to see for themselves.

    1. Laura-dancer, You are right on about Martha-and I like what you brought out about women and the culture!

  24. 4. Read John 11:17-27

    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

    Martha. She struggles with control and will be out there, up front, first to make sure things are taken care of. You know, I also noticed she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and especially so when her control idol has been threatened. Yet, I do like this part about her and I think God does too-that she is honest with her feelings and speaks up.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

    He assures her Lazarus will rise again. I didn’t see this before in this passage! To me, He is saying that resurrection life for us happens when we give our lives to Him-when we believe. In that moment we rise in new life with Him. The old man is gone behold the new man is come!

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

    Jesus contrasts this so beautifully-So good! I could be wrong but in verse 25 Jesus is talking about at the moment we believe, transformation starts-we live in Him and die to the old self, then in V26 he is referring to the moment we believe we are eternally with Him-relationally forever and will never die.

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

    She turns from her control idol and immediately yields to Jesus.

    1. You know, I just thought about the last two questions more..Again, I think this is so important-suffering has been a huge part of the transformation process in my life-suffering due to some type of event, and then suffering to let go of whatever I cling to in the midst other than God. God is using my son’s Autism and my other sons Asperger issues, and other things to chisel away at me. Sometimes it is easy to think the yuk in me-the areas that are unseemly are impossible for even the Great I Am to chisel-that I can’t just go higher-it isn’t that easy, yet I am learning that He wants to walk with me even through the struggle of trusting-and when I do that it IS trusting and is crucial to letting go and turning! I am His-I have new life in Him and the stones seem so hard, yet to stop there is letting the beast in. Because I am alive in Him I don’t have to stay there!!

      I DO DO DO look forward to the future resurrection!! But I also must say, and especially so now after doing Dee’s studies that the joy inside is increasing as I go through storms, and I love it when God takes me to these passages to give me more consistent affirmation of this glorious truth-transformation!

      1. loved ALL of this Rebecca–such a life giving post “yet I am learning that He wants to walk with me even through the struggle of trusting-and when I do that it IS trusting and is crucial to letting go and turning”

  25. 1. The opening causes me to think of how precious human relationships are and what treasure we have in the people that we love. Dee you describe well the deep longing for the presence of a loved one who is not with us. I am thinking about the fact that it is in this form and relationship that the God of the universe comes to us. I love how you remind us of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. It’s really neat that the picture is golden because that is just what those hours were, the fellowship sweet and the relishing of truth as Jesus explained the meaning of all that had happened. One day Chris will walk with Daniel, Dee with Steve and all of us with Jesus, in this same way and He will explain it all. Like Job, we have questions.

  26. 2a. People are not usually willing to die for something that is made up. Perhaps a few might but every single one of the disciples and probably millions of others down through the ages have suffered and died for their belief the gospel. I say that is impossible for a fable made up by some obscure men 2000 years ago.

  27. 3. I am not sure if this really answers #3 but it makes me think of an illustration of the deep joy we have in the resurrection. My father built his house in the mid 70’s on a hill alongside the Yadkin valley. I remember the well drilling process because my parents were worried about ever finding water. The well ended up being 400 feet and the water has always had a lot of iron in it. Later on my sister put a trailer below and had a well drilled. She later built a house using the same well. The water is perfect and always plentiful. She later found out that this well in on an aquapher (sp?) which is a large underground water source. There is something different about how it stays clean but I can’t remember. This reminds me of our joy. It is pure, deep and always plentiful. It is unaffected by what happens on the surface or what seeps through the cracks in the earth because it is always flowing, alive in a sense. Because of the resurrection of Christ we have wells of living water rather than broken cisterns.

    1. Anne, this was good-You got my mind going into comparing the well with iron in it and the deeper well-which may not be a good thing-so I won’t go there! 🙂 I love how you brought this out- the deep well that is pure water-ever flowing, ever plentiful unaffected by what happens on the surface-He is our living water forever-we are His forever and nothing can take Him away from us! Even amidst our struggles here on Earth-our brokenness and the times there are Earthquakes in our life-the water flows and He wants us to continue to drink from it. 🙂

  28. 4. Read John 11:17-27

    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

    Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha is the first to go out and meet Jesus. What she says to him, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died”, reminds me of her coming out of the kitchen and confronting Him with, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister isn’t helping me…? Both statements are kind of accusatory. Martha isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind – even when she knows she is talking to the LORD.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

    He says “Your brother will rise again.” To me it means that one day our physical bodies will be raised – a new, imperishable body.

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for the resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

    Jesus says in these verses that “He who believes in Me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”

    I’m looking at this carefully now and wondering if the first part refers to our physical death (even though he dies), meaning that even though our bodies will one day give out, the real “us” goes on living. The second part says that we will never die, and I’m wondering if that is our spirit, which would never experience a death like our physical bodies will?

    For evidence to support this, in John 5:24 it says, “…whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me HAS eternal life and will not be condemned; he HAS CROSSED OVER FROM DEATH TO LIFE.” This seems to speak of a present reality that happens when we believe – at that moment we “cross over from death to life”. It’s not something that will happen in the future, it happens now.

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

    She responds with faith – “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

  29. B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?
    Jesus said your brother will rise again . To me this means that I too will rise again with a new body that us imperishable.

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.
    Jesus said I am the resurrection. And the life who ever believes in me will live!

    It says whoever believes in me will live so as Soon as you except him in your heart you will live forever even though your physical body dies .

  30. D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

    “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27 NIV)

  31. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character

    I was reading this just now and thinking, wait. This is the same sister who was frantically preparing the dinner and trying to get everything ready in the kitchen while her sister Mary wouldn’t leave Jesus side the wholetime!
    I surprised at her bold statement of faith!

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?
    Her brother will rise again!
    Life! This means life even after death!

    Reflect:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha? Because Martha was making a public proclamation of who Jesus is when she approached Him?

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not? No, I don’t think it was hard for her. She was desperate to see her brother alive again, and she knew Jesus had the Power to do this because He was sent from God. However, she did not say He was the Son of God until after Jesus asked her ” and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe?”
    Martha had first to make that public confession. where as Mary already knew in her heart.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think? Mary knew in her heart. When Jesus saw her and the mourners He had compassion and showed His true humanity and wept. He didn’t wail which was the custom of the day, but wept at their grief…but that is how I understand it to be.

  32. 4. Read John 11:17-27
    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

    4 days and Martha came to Him first. She was upset and angry that He had not come sooner. She wanted answers, Someone to blame. I try to imagine how she felt. I know when dad died, I literally slumped down the wall onto the floor—like it knocked all emotion out of me—but I can understand how she just wanted to get mad at Someone…frustrated she could not control this as she (thought) she could so much of her life.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

    If I imagine it to me—Jesus saying, “You will rise again”, I feel a breath of Life in me—this isn’t IT. This isn’t all there is—and I will be with Him, face to face, and it will feel like this time here was only a moment—there is HOPE in that.
    And yet, I see here too—He is speaking of the present—the freedom we can have today, here, now, as His own.

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

    Whoever believes in Him—shall never die. John 1:12 : “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”–when we believe, at that moment–we become His child, a new identity–new life!

  33. D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?
    5. Reflecting: “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world
    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?
    I think He wanted to set her free—from her busy-ness, her control idol, her fears—FREE.

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?
    I think it was hard—her emotions were riled up, she was angry—but she shows submission here, she let herself trust Him, melt a little.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?
    He knew Mary’s heart—she wasn’t blaming Jesus for not being there, she was sincerely showing her faith, that all it would have taken was His presence. She fell to His feet, broken, not accusatory.

  34. 4. Read John 11:17-27
    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?
    4 days.
    Martha was first. Can’t you just see her running out to reprimand Him. He was only 2 miles away!
    I Googled Martha and learned some interesting things about her: She was probably well to do, maybe an orphan along with her brother and sister. Since she was older than Mary and used to running the household. The three of them may be quite young and none of them was married. Martha was a doer and Mary a thinker.
    This scene is consistent with Martha’s character b/c we see Martha demanding Jesus put Mary in her place earlier.

    This was neat: Jesus was ignoring the traditional role of women, and encouraging Mary to think and learn. He upheld her right to listen to and think about ideas, and to develop her mind. She should not be limited to the tasks that society laid down for her, but be allowed access to ideas, as Jewish men were.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you? Your brother will rise again. Immediately I thought like Martha did that he would rise at the resurrection. This, for the believer is our blessed hope of seeing those who have gone before when Jesus comes and the dead will rise.

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25, 26.
    Though he were dead, yet shall he live. Reminds me of the verse, When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27? Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

    1. thanks Kim for a little backround on Martha! this was interesting to read!

    2. I’m with Laura Marie-I really appreciated the background on this Kim.

  35. I wanted to share this with you. this is my latest post to my blog. This is how I have changed over the year of this study, I am starting to SEE and ENJOY more then ever before….thank you all, you are a HUGE part of this transformation!

    Am I the only one who gets so busy with life that the miracles get lost in the blur? I look at my children and some days all I can see is shoes that need replaced and braces that need payed for and math that need done and I miss it, I miss THEM, I rush past the story that Emma is telling me so I can make the supper, I get worked up about the unread books and I miss the story that is being written right in front of my eyes.

    there is a young woman in my house trying desperately to find her way in this messed up world, who loves with all her heart and gives until she has nothing left….but I see the flaws and I try to “fix” her.

    there is another young woman who has compassion and passion and gets lost in the craziness of our home, being the middle child isn’t easy and I forget to stop and notice her, she is growing into a woman so very fast.

    A child born half way around the world calls me mom, you would think that would be enough of a miracle but she has taken the hands and arms that most people could do nothing with and has used them to care for herself and others in amazing ways…..this is normal for me, for her, but its not.

    another one, born thousand of miles away but no less mine then the rest. bending and jumping and flying her way into her own world, one of balance beams and bars, a world I know nothing about and one she just found 10 weeks ago, memorizing 100s of answers for Bible Quizzing as well, trying so hard to be “good enough” to get seen….

    How do I stop long enough to notice, to enjoy, to SEE the miracles that are my children? seeing past the mess, the bad handwriting, the hard, and see Joy, the grace, the lovely. my busy life has blinded me way to often and I long to SEE…to ENJOY… to EMBRACE THE MIRACLES before I forget that that is what they are, miracles.

    taken from
    ferrellchinajourney.blogspot.com

    1. Cyndi, your post really hit home with me. When I married my husband 22 yrs. ago, we had his 2 kids and my 3 kids at home. We were working full time and came home to a fisasco every day after work. Kendra,(3 yrs) was crying and tired and having siesures..wanting rocked, my mom (recently widowed and lonely) was here everyday and part of the evening, trying to help, but was causing more problems between us. The older kids were always hungrey or fighting. Blending family’s was a nightmare! I wanted to run away as far as I could run! Mornings were just as hectic, getting all the kids ready and to school…Kendra crying, wanting mommy to sit and rock. I feel like I missed the most important times in my life, when my kids were young, (ages 3, 8 and 11) and needed me the most and I was too busy to enjoy them. Oh how I wish now, that I could go back and rock Kendra more and spend precious time with the older kids, too. I felt like I done them all an injustice, by not spending more time with them….his kids and my kids.

      Cyndi, I guess if I had it to do over again, I would do everything I could do with the kids and let everything else go, because they don’t remember if the house was spotless or if they had a hot supper or their favorite jeans were clean…but they do remember if mom was there for them or not. My 2 older kids felt like I “never had time for them and it was all about Kendra”. With Kendra disabled, she did need alot of extra care. They understand that now, but it hurts that I missed so much of their lives. So enjoy your kids while they are still at home, because this is the best time in your life…right now. I know your thinking…”What?! Best time in my life?! Your nuts!!” But, they will all be gone all TOO SOON and you’ll wonder where the years went by. Your a fantastic mom and your 5 kids are amazing, so try to slow down and take time with them…they just want mom, that’s all!

      Sorry!…I went back and see that…”this is what it was like a year ago. Sorry for this then, but I just don’t want you, Rebecca, Angela and all you young mom’s, to look back someday and have regrets like I do, because I didn’t spend more time with the kids. We don’t get a practice run, one time and that’s it!

      1. I know I am so very blessed to spend every day with my kids! my heart breaks for woman who have no choice and have to run out the door every day just to put food on the table! I know woman can do it and do it well but I would not be able to. I AM still like this, this is NOW, I see that im doing it where as last year i did not, so your answer was appropriate:) I love you Joyce, you so strong and real and such a surviver!

    2. Cyndi, This was beautiful!

  36. Bible Study: Monday – Wednesday

    Though the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying “The one you love is sick,” He intentionally stayed where He was. He can be such a mystery. Now He arrives.

    4. Read John 11:17-27

    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character? – he was dead in the tomb for four days. Martha was the first one to confront Jesus about Lazarus’ death. Mary reminds me of a big sister being bossy and thinking that what she does is right and mom will like her better. She’s in charge and will give the direction of what she thinks should be done in the situation they are in.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you? – “Your brother will come back to life again”; To me Jesus is saying why are you doubting me, trust me that I know what is best. This is such a relief to know that I will have eternal life and be able to live among God, Jesus and all who went before that had a relationship with Him

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes. – Jesus is speaking in the present tense when he uses “I AM the resurrection” in a sense that the last day is already here and because Lazarus believed in who Jesus was he will never die and have eternal life as well.

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27? – She replied that she did believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who came into the world.

    5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha? – Jesus was no respecter of person, so to him it probably was not something he even thought about, or if he didn’t want people to make a big deal about this miracle he told a woman who no one would really believe anyway that a miracle was done.

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not? – in a way I think it was because Martha liked to be in control and admitting to Jesus that she believed him made her less in control than what she liked to be in.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think? – Mary comes across to me as a more sensitive woman than Martha, so Jesus knew how she was and replied in a softer way.

  37. Dee, I enjoyed listening to you talk about your book, “God of all comfort”, so very much tonight! I could listen to you talk all night because you put yourself out there and speak from your heart. Your voice is so soothing but your pain is so raw, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I wanted to tell you Thank you, but everyone swarmed around you afterwards. Thank you for coming to our table and giving us a hug before things got started. You are such a blessing!

    1. Joyce, Loved this update-so good to hear!!

      1. Thank you so much, Dee. You are the reason we are friends! About 30 yrs ago, Nita and I were in separate bible studies that Dee started and Nita told Dee she needed a special friend, so Dee encouraged Nita to just introduce herself to someone, so she did (but was scared to death!) and so at the next Christian womens club meeting, that Dee was speaking at, she introduced herself to me! We were both young mom’s married to unsaved men, so we hit it off right away…Nita is blond and blue eye’s and I am brown and brown eye’s! We have been best friends every since then. But we know it’s not good to always just have each other, and no one else, so we branch off and are with other friends too. Dee taught us this..to not always sit together or always go to the same bible study, because it’s good to have other friend’s too. So we get together when we can, but then we do other things with other’s too. She is able to do more things than me because of Kendra and my back. But we could go for months and not see each other, and always know we are there for one another other and praying for each other. Thank you so much Dee!

  38. C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

     25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    I’m guessing the “evidence” is where he says, “…whoever live by believing in me will never die.”

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

    Martha agrees and tells Jesus she believes Him.

    5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

    Maybe He knew she would tell many people; spread the word so others would hear. Why a woman? Again, the women, not being the ones to ever be believed, would never make up a story such as this lest they be admonished for it. They wouldn’t want to be bothered(or even condemned) by those higher up.

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

    I do think it was hard for her. I’m not sure if the law was so strict that she might get jailed or beaten for telling “lies.” she risked this because she loved Jesus.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?

    Mary was the weaker of the two sisters? He wept with her because she was the more emotional one? I’m not sure. He knew she would be cared for, but maybe she needed reassurance. Maybe she wasn’t quite in the same place that Martha was in her belief since Lazarus died and she felt Jesus might have saved him.

  39. 5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

    I was thinking Jesus did everything upside down anyway, and I think he loved Martha and Mary. I also think God loves women and his intent from before time wasn’t oppression in any way-that isn’t who God is and he can’t act out of his nature. He didn’t make women to be ‘less than’ men either.

    Also, perhaps because it wasn’t his time yet? He knew she wouldn’t be taken seriously.

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

    This is a great question. Hard to answer, but I think Jesus had to deal with her control idol first. So I think at first Martha was struggling. Jesus knew her frame and her heart. He knew how to challenge her control idol. I think this confrontation with Jesus melted her heart and by verse 27 she turned.

  40. 5. C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?

    This is where God is quickening me this morning because I am blown away. I didn’t see this layer before. What struck me was the difference in how Martha and Mary approached Jesus in this passage. Totally different. Martha was more cerebral, no passion for Jesus, yet Mary was more tender, more passionate about Jesus-she fell at his feet. Martha came with her control idol confronting Jesus and he had to address her lies and unbelief, Mary came with a yielding heart right away-Jesus didn’t have to address her unbelief. Jesus didn’t have to question if Mary believed. Jesus responds to her passion expressing passion back toward her-their hearts were knit closely. Mary had real intimacy with God-and this is Jesus desire for us so much that he went to the cross.

    Jesus didn’t go to the cross so that we could have a luke warm relationship with Him-He came because we are his passion and He desires to be our passion.

    Yet there is Grace for Martha-Later on in the passage Jesus extends Grace to Martha. I think Jesus is loving Martha with His long suffering toward her, just like he did with Peter.

    1. thanks rebecca! i really enjoyed reading everyones commments this morning its a big help!
      i wish there was a “like” button!

      1. Laura, I know! I wish there were a “like” button too. 🙂

  41. 1. Do you have any comment on the above? I really like the title An Explosion of joy!! I had an explosion of joy yesterday! I finally found a job… I am going back with my old client and mom has promised me more hours . I was getting so impatient cause I wasn’t getting any phone falls or anything from my applications that I put out but I think this is where god wanted me all along . I really do believe this was from him! I also had a ministry opportunity yesterday!

    1. Yeah! I’ve been praying about a job for you, Meg, for God to meet your needs for employment and to put you where your gifts and talents will be used!

    2. Great news, Meg. I am so glad you are here with us. You are loved, little sister! (hope you don’t mind me calling you that).

      1. Of course I don’t mind Kim:)

    3. That’s great, Meg!

    4. so happy for you meg–and love how you give Him all the praise 🙂

  42. 5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim – and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why – do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

    If the culture of Jesus’ day did not consider women to be reliable witnesses, I am sure Jesus did not agree with that! He always elevated women to a status not normally given to them, and treated them with dignity and respect. I think back to the first woman He revealed that He was the Messiah – it was the Samaritan woman at the well.
    Martha was bold and outspoken and assertive. She was a “doer”. I’m sure she took this claim and “ran with it”. I’ll bet she shared it with others. I think that Jesus regarded Martha as someone He could speak to intellectually.

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

    I’m not sure; it’s interesting that His question is “Do you believe this?” (that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in Him will live, even though he dies) but Martha not only answers, “Yes, Lord” but adds “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.” I don’t think her belief or faith was so much in what He just explained to her as much as it was in Him. I can’t think that she fully could understand or grasp what He just told her, but she believed in Him and who He was.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus – but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?

    I’m trying to remember Keller’s sermon we listened to on this. He mentioned truth and tears. There’s a time for both. Martha and Mary were two different people with different personalities and emotional needs. Jesus responds to each one according to what she needed at that moment. Martha was asking questions, Mary was weeping. Jesus gave Martha truth, and He gave Mary His tears as He wept with her.

  43. 4. Read John 11:17-27

    A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

    He had been dead 4 days, Martha is the first to confront Jesus. This is consistent with her character, wanting to control the situation.

    B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

    “Your brother will rise again.” It gives me hope, with God all things are possible. It’s interesting to see her response, not of hope, but of practicality. Like she couldn’t let herself go there, to feel hope.

    C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

    “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

    D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

    “Yes, Lord I believe that You are the Christ”.

  44. 5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

    I think His heart was stirred by her; despite all her faults, her wanting to control, to worry…he heard her state “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” He has a heart of compassion, and no doubt is grieving over Lazarus whom he also loved. I can’t think of any other way he would answer, other than to offer hope and reassurance to her. And I think it’s just like God’s Word to include this piece, this glimpse of how God loves, no matter what sex we are, what status, or what filth that we carry.

  45. Hi everyone. I have enjoyed reading your comments. But I don’t know if I will be able to do any of the lesson this week. Sunday night and Monday I had family here with us. Then yesterday, my adult daughter (the one with 3 small kids) who struggles with depression overdosed with pills. She was taken to the hospital and checked over but released. (The hospital here does not have any resources to deal with mental health unless they are a danger to themselves or others apparently.) She practically begged them to let her stay in overnight but they would not. Anyway, she came here overnight and now has left to return home. Her mother-in-law is going to stay and help her with the kids until Saturday while I have two Women’s Bible study groups to lead tonight and tomorrow.

    I am doing OK but exhausted and know you women will pray. Hopefully, I will at least get to listen to Keller’s sermon later in the week.

    1. oh dear Diane–PRAYING!! Lord, please come and take Diane’s daughter, hold her in Your arms, calm her spirit Lord, grant her peace. Cover those children with Your presence beyond understanding. And Father, please bring the right doctors to them to have discernment and wisdom in helping her–Lord, please bring healing.
      Oh Diane–SO sorry about all of this, but will be praying I promise

    2. Oh Diane!! YES, I am praying right now for your daughter-Oh may God comfort you Diane-this has to be so heart breaking for you! Lord God be Diane’s daughter’s comfort-we ask you would also be Diane’s comfort as well in this time. Oh God you are the Great I AM-thank you that you know Diane’s daughter’s frame so well and you love her-how this must grieve you-Oh God rescue her..

    3. Oh dear Diane, we are praying!!!

    4. Dear Diane, please know I am praying for your daughter…I am so very sorry.

    5. Praying Diane. Praying for protection and the pure gold of her faith in God and how He is able to sustain her. I pray that she will be able to hope in the Lord. I also pray for His strength for you Diane.

    6. Dear Lord, Diane’s daughter is struggling now and needs your tender care. Thank you for always being with us. Help her to know you are there with her, Lord; to feel your strong presence. Help her to realize how precious life is and how being close to those around us is a blessing. Let her know that our friends and family can share the burden with us and be strong for us. I pray in your Holy name Lord. Amen.

    7. Praying for you Diane. For the Lord’s joy to be your strength. For your daughter to have hope, and healing for her wounds. I know what it’s like to be majorly depressed. I stayed at a hospital overnight. It’s hard to believe that if she tried to overdose with pills that they would not let her stay. I’m so sorry. Will continue to pray.

    8. Praying for you and for your daughter, Diane. I empathize with the depression. Hard to imagine that overdosing doesn’t count as being a danger to herself. But if they don’t have a locked unit with constant supervision, I’m not sure how they’d even deal with someone who was dangerous to him/herself or someone else.

    1. Thank you, Dee. It was such a sweet time – like you never left.

    2. Glad you were able to have such a good time with family and friends. Love you!

  46. Elizabeth

    I have been praying for you and your pain How is it? How are you doing? I miss and Love you!

    1. sweet Meg–thank you. i’m doing so much better “on the inside”, i really feel God’s love for me, and His protection over my fears in ways I haven’t before–thank you and it’s so good to have you back–missed you too!

      1. wow thats great! If you think of it can you pray for me.. I have been really struggling latley with alot of things.. One of my friends that i hang out with alot says that i am depressed.. and i feel it too.. crying alot.. not wanting to even get out of bed in the morning… Love to you!

        1. Meg, can you tell your Doctor how you feel, hon? We will be praying for you, but please get some medical advice. I’ve dwelt with depression and there is nothing wrong with getting help. Our own Tammy, that is a sister here, is out of touch now, as she is dealing with it also. We love you and Tammy and are praying for you both.

        2. Joyce thank you for your concern I am getting help and on some medication:)

        3. Meg I take medication for depression. It’s something I never wanted to do, but have learned the Lord gave us people gifted in biochemistry to be a help in this fallen world, to those who struggle with depression and beyond. Anyway, just wanted to offer some encouragement. You are not alone.

        4. Thanks Anne! I am at a point wherei just want to overdose on my medicine and see what happens I am so depressed my therapist told me to never stop taking my medicine which is the Only way to help me is to take them away from me !

        5. Meg, I do know you have to be very careful coming off of anti- depessent’s…do it very slowly, but I’ve never heard of what your therapist is saying to do! Be careful!

        6. Yes you have to be very careful like Joyce said. I went into the hospital because I wanted some kind of quick fix through medication, like intravenously. I ended up leaving after a day because I realized it wasn’t going to be a quick fix. I learned that medication is not the end all solution with depression…you are battling on emotional, spiritual and physical fronts. I will pray for patience for you, and for Jesus to fill you with hope and strength!

        7. Thanks Anne and Joyce

    2. Meg–you know we all love you and are praying for you–and He loves you so much more, praying you will run to Him and rest in His arms. I agree with Anne MS completely about medication, and hope you have a good counselor too that you are meeting with.

      1. Thank you Ellizabeth..

  47. 4a. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. Martha confronts Jesus first and this does seem consistent with her character. She speaks her mind.
    b. Jesus promises Martha that Lazarus will rise again. This means everything to me because it is the source of my hope. Not only will loved ones rise again but so will I.
    c. He tells her that EVEN IF a person dies, he will live again. Then He says that everyone who LIVES and believes in Him will never die-ever. I don’t know but here it seems that He is talking about 2 different kinds of death, maybe physical and spiritual. If not He seems to contradict Himself because He says that if someone dies and then says they will never die.
    d. In verse 27 Martha says that she believes that He is the Messiah, the Son of God.

    5. Mary says part of the same words that Martha said but Martha followed with verse 22 when she said that she knew that God would give Him whatever He asked. Both were grieving but I think that Martha responded to Jesus in faith when possibly Mary did not. At least not to the degree that Martha did. I may be completely wrong but there are 2 instances of Jesus being angry here and I wonder if it could have been in response to lack of faith. It could also have been caused by the fallen world which in a sense caused Lazarus’ death.

      1. Yes I see that you are right about Mary’s grief.that is more her experience than her blaming Jesus and avoiding Him. While I think lack of faith displeases Him that was not really the cause of His anger. I agree that sin and the fallen ness of the world was likely the cause

      2. I’ve been enjoying being a silent reader 🙂 I moved into that phase after being away, then behind in everything, and then noticing how many people subscribe to this blog! I’m once again a little intimidated to post online, but this is jumping out and grabbing me:
        -the power of the great I AM — puts all of life into perspective. He is “I AM,” and He loves me! When I don’t respond in faith, it’s a big clue that I’m looking away from Him.

        -that Jesus wept for Mary because of her pain. Acknowledging this, I love Him even more.

        1. always love to see your posts Renee and hear your wise thoughts

        2. haha… I didn’t figure out how many people subscribe (no idea how to do that!). I simply clicked on the Bible Study Blog link at the top of your page and near the upper right hand corner, I read “Total Subscribers: 6,642.” Not sure how your publishers figured out the age of your readers unless they somehow have info from all the marketing type surveys that some of us complete … or if they have access to some service that tracks all our online surfing … or if those of us who post write as if we are women between 32 and 58 (Hey, publishers, I’m way past 32, but I am < 58!)

        3. Big brother is watching……kind of scary

  48. 5. Reflecting:

    A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha? First, I believe Jesus saw women as reliable witnesses and although she didn’t get it right all the time He loved her and knew that under all her stuff she had a heart that beat to serve and love. Martha is a favorite of mine b/c as Dee says she was the Martha Stewart of her time. I and my sister have much in common with these two. 🙂

    B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not? No, I believe she loved and knew Jesus well.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think? She fell at His feet humbly and He met her at the point of her need. He was moved with compassion for all those weeping.
    I actually see Him trusting Martha with more.