Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak in to your life! Expect great things!
Opening Prayer (Wesley Covenant Prayer)
O God, Searcher of all our hearts,
you have formed us as a people and claimed us for your own.
As we come to acknowledge your sovereignty and grace,
and to enter anew into covenant with you,
reveal any reluctance or falsehood within us.
Let your Spirit impress your truth on our inmost being,
and receive us in mercy, for the sake of our Mediator, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Scripture: John 11:17-37 (Common English Bible)
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. 19 Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, the one who is coming into the world.”
28 After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. 30 He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.
32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. 34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus began to cry. 36 The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
For the season of Lent, we journey with Jesus through the wilderness. As Jesus’ was prepared for his public ministry in the wilderness, through the season of Lent, God prepares us for how to live in the Resurrection. Embrace Lent, as we learn to live with Jesus!
In this scripture, Mary and Martha grieve their brother Lazarus’ death. Jesus does not arrive in time to keep him alive. Jesus openly mourns, too. Jesus’ tears are rooted in love. Jesus shows care and love for Mary, Martha and Lazarus and it’s love (through mourning) that leads the way to resurrection (John 11:38-45).
- What is a word, phrase or image that comes to mind when you read or hear the text?
- What are some of the emotions each character in this scripture feels. What might Martha have felt in John 11:21-11? What might Mary have felt John 11:32? What might Jesus have felt when he was weeping in John 11:35? Which person in this scripture resonates most with you?
- What does this scripture teach about grieving?
- What does God invite you to do, change or be through this passage?
Discipleship Huddle Questions:
- How is it with your soul?
- How does your soul prosper?
God who surprises us, help us to be surprised by an encounter with you. Keep us attentive to your presence as we go about our week.