THE CUSTOMS OF BURIAL
Whenever someone prominent died in those days, the religious leadership came out. Lazarus must have been such a person because of the many people who came out to attend his funeral. People often stayed at a funeral for a week to comfort the family members. The burial took place immediately following the death because there was no way to effectively preserve the body in the heat of the region. The rest of the week was filled with mourning the deceased and comforting the family. Some people came as professional mourners who would wail as an expression of grief. But many were there to legitimately comfort Mary and Martha.
It was customary to form a long procession that would march to the tomb. Women always led the procession because a woman had brought death into the world by her sin, so it was thought appropriate for women to lead the mourners to the tomb. Once there, eulogies were given. Returning from the tomb, there was a meal consisting of bread, hard-boiled eggs, and lentils. They wanted to make sure that the funeral stayed a funeral and didn’t become a party.
Read John 11:33-54
1) List the phrases in this passage that reveal Jesus’ feelings about the death of Lazarus. Compare these phrases with the statements made in Isaiah 53:3-4. What is your reaction to this glimpse into Jesus’ emotional state?
2) The Greek words for weeping in verse 33 and verse 35 are slightly different in meaning. In verse 33, the word used refers to loud wailing. In verse 35, the word speaks of the silent shedding of tears. Compare verse 35 with Luke 19:41 which uses the same word as John 11:33. What stands out to you in making this comparison?
3) In this story we see both Jesus’ divine power in raising Lazarus and his full humanity. How is this significant?
4) Why did Martha not want to have the stone removed from Lazarus tomb? What does this tell you about her faith at this point?
5) What does Jesus tell Martha will be the result if she believes? What is the difference between seeing a miracle and seeing the glory of God?
6) What are the results in the believer’s life from beholding the glory of God? (See 2 Corinthians 3:18)
7) According to verses 40 and 42, what are two reasons that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?
8 ) What kind of prayer did Jesus offer to the Father in verses 41-42? Why did he pray out loud?
9) Compare John 11:43 with John 5:25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. What stands out to you as significant?
10) Put yourself in the place of one of the mourners. You hear Jesus’ shout. You see the dead man walk out of the grave still wrapped in the grave clothes. How would you have responded?
11) What if Jesus had asked you to remove the bandages? What would your reaction have been as you saw him fully restored after being in the tomb for four days?
12) What application for our lives today can be made from the fact that Jesus did not miraculously remove either the stone or the grave clothes, but enlisted those nearby to perform the task?
13) From John 11:45-48 and 53 and John 12:10-11, identify how the different groups of people who witnessed this miracle responded to Lazarus’ return to life?
14) Rather than denying the miracle of Lazarus’s resurrection, what did the religious leaders deny? (See John 9:16, 29-31, John 10:33)
15) Examine the proceedings of the council in John 11:47-53. List the participants and their major concerns.
16) Who was Caiaphas? What was the prophecy that he gave? Explain what he meant by it as well as the deeper meaning it had. How were these two aspects of the prophecy fulfilled?
17) What are the implications of God using an unwilling/unrighteous man such as Caiaphas to make such a prophecy? (See Acts 4:23-29)
18) What conclusion did the council come to after Caiaphas’s prophecy?
19) What previously discussed verses in John would explain the heart attitude that would cause the Jewish leaders to seek Jesus’ death in earnest now.
20) How did Jesus respond to this new threat according to verse 54? Why?by beakennedy and comments are closed.