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John 11:17-37

Talks for Growing Christians

The Lord Comforts Mary and Martha, Then He Goes To the Tomb of Lazarus

John 11:17-37

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Lesson Number 52

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers react differently when a loved one dies.
  2. There are different ways to comfort believers at the time of death.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t let your “if onlys” move you away from God.

Questions

  1. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, how long had Lazarus been dead?
  2. Explain the meaning of the two “weepings” in John 1:.31-33.
  3. Were there other times when the Lord wept?
  4. Who had the power of death before the Lord’s death and resurrection?
  5. Should all believers react the same to the death of a loved one?
  6. How did Lazarus’ sisters react to his death?
  7. How did Jesus comfort Mary and Martha?

Answers

  1. For four days, including the messenger’s travel, the two days of Jesus’ delay, and the day it took for Jesus to travel to Bethany.
  2. The Jews who mourned with Mary and Martha gave a loud expression of grief. The Lord groaned quietly in His spirit, being deeply moved and troubled.
  3. Yes. He wept over Jerusalem and He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  4. Satan. See Hebrews 2:14.
  5. No. We know that from experience that people react differently, and this is taught in the Bible. It is not wrong to weep, for God made us emotional people.
  6. Both Mary and Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” John 11:21, 32. Their reactions, however, were quite different. Mary stayed in the house, weeping with the mourners. Martha went out to meet the Lord on the road, and we don’t read of her weeping. Mary fell at the Lord’s feet, overcome with grief. Martha, on the other hand, had a profound theological discussion with the Lord. Mary and Martha both loved Lazarus, and the Lord didn’t rebuke either one.
  7. The Lord comforted Mary by saying nothing, but by weeping with her. He comforted Martha by answering her questions about the resurrection.

Discuss/Consider

  1. When you have grieved in the loss of a loved one, how were you comforted? Have you had the opportunity to comfort someone who has lost a loved one? How can you apply some of the principles from this lesson the next time an opportunity arises?

Challenge

  1. At the time of a loved one’s death, the “if onlys” will invariably arise. They will move you away from God or toward God. Be prepared for the “if onlys,” and don’t let them move you away from God.

Key Verses

  • “Martha said, ‘Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’” John 11:21
  • “Mary said, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32
  • “Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

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