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August 21 – John 12:12-19

Read: John 12:12-19

john 12 13

This week’s readings from John 12 will examine how false loves and unbelief prevent us from following Jesus. After Jesus raised Lazarus, the Pharisees and other rulers stepped up their efforts to kill Jesus. But there was one major factor in their way, the crowds of people who had seen Jesus work miracles (including the raising of Lazarus). Those crowds rightly worshipped Jesus when he entered Jerusalem, acknowledging him as King. The Pharisees are exasperated by the end of the day: “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him.” But while the crowd’s words are true, there hearts have yet to be tested. The question for would-be followers of Jesus, is whether they will be able to follow Jesus in his darkest hour.

August 18 – God is Omniscient: Thanksgiving

Every Friday, Growing in the Gospel will feature a theme we are focusing on as a church for the current month.

August’s Focus: God is Omniscient (God knows everything)

This week’s emphasis: Thanksgiving

Read: Matthew 10:24-33

Questions:

Consider the relationship between God’s knowledge of us, and our acknowledgement of him. Why is knowledge and acknowledging so important in a relationship?

Examine the context of this passage. Why was Jesus reassuring the disciples about God’s care?

Response:

Thank God for knowing you so well.

Thank God for watching over you and taking care of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 17 – John 11:38-44

Reading: John 11:38-44

john 11 43

Jesus now reveals two reasons for allowing Lazarus to die. First, it was so that God would be glorified through this miracle. Second, it was so that those present would believe that Jesus was sent by God. In proving that he was the resurrection and the life Jesus used this occasion not only to raise Lazarus from the dead, but to offer resurrection power – eternal life – to all those who would believe, even us.

Hear the call of Ephesians 5:14 Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

August 16 – John 11:28-37

Reading: John 11:28-37

john 11 33

Despite the fact that Jesus knew what was going to happen, he still mourned deeply for his friends. He – probably more than anyone else – understood the tragedy of death because he know this “was not the way it’s supposed to be.” This passage also shows that Jesus does not love in the abstract, but that his love is very personal. Those around Jesus saw that he loved Lazarus, but they also (with Mary and Martha) expressed some display: “Couldn’t Jesus have prevented this in the first place?”

When it looks like Jesus isn’t acting in the way we had hoped we can be comforted knowing that Jesus still loves us, mourns with us, and has something better in mind.

Further reading: When Jesus doesn’t meet our expectation

August 15 – John 11:17-27

Reading: John 11:17-27

john 11 25-26

Martha showed great faith. She knew that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’s death and that his prayers could still be effective. She believed, too, in the final resurrection. Still, Jesus had something more to teach her – and us. Not only can he raise the dead, but he is the resurrection. By believing in him we don’t just hope for a future eternal life, we have eternal life. We have a spiritual existence that death cannot ultimately conquer. This declaration (“I am the resurrection and the life”) leads Martha to confess Jesus as the Messiah and should continue to fill us with worship and gratitude.

August 14 – John 11:1-16

Reading: John 11:1-16

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This week’s reading is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. We begin with the setup (11:1-16). Let’s consider two themes that come up in this passage. First, we see Jesus’s very personal love for his friends (11:3, 11:5). Second, we see that Jesus knows exactly what will happen, and that he and the Father will be glorified through it. Therefore, Jesus can say that the sickness will not end in death, since death is not the end of the story.

Despite the fact that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying (a sentiment that arises throughout the rest of the story), he stayed an extra two days. He did this not despite the fact that he loved his friends, but because he loved them. Sometimes God doesn’t answer prayers the way we expect him to, but we can always trust his ways.

August 11 – God is Omniscient: Confession

Every Friday, Growing in the Gospel will feature a theme we are focusing on as a church for the current month.

August’s Focus: God is Omniscient (God knows everything)

This week’s emphasis: Confession

Read: Psalm 139

Questions:

List the ways the Psalmist describes how intimately God knows us.

How can God’s omniscience be a deterrent to sin?

Response:

Confess the times you have complained that God doesn’t know your needs

Confess the times you have acted as if God cannot see what you’re doing.