Can we share Martha’s confession in John 11:27? And if we do, what does that sharing mean?
That’s a question in at least two senses. One, what confession do we understand ourselves to be sharing? What do we think we are affirming when we say “Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ …”? Two, what does that affirmation entail or demand of us in our lives, in our living? Does it affect our thinking, our feeling, or our behavior when it comes to anything else? Assuming it does, what else? How – what effect does it seem to have?
This may be the central question the author of the gospel of John wants us to ask ourselves about the text we are studying – John 11:17-27 & 38-44 – for Sunday, July 24. Some notes on the text are here. Here are a couple more questions we might want to think about, or discuss:
Do we think of this story as “a miracle story”? Should we? Why?
Does the story give us the idea that we ought to have some particular attitude towards “miracles”? (e.g., see verse 22) What attitude is that? Why do we think that?
[More personal] How do we feel about that? Why?
In verse 38 (and also verse 33), Jesus is literally enraged or indignant. Why? That is – how do we understand Jesus’ response here? What do we think he is indignant at, and why indignant?
What does this tell us about God, and about life and death?
[More personal] Is this a new understanding of God for us, or a familiar one? Whether new or familiar, how does thinking this way about God influence how we respond to God? Why?
When we think about “what this story is about” or “what this story tells us,” where do we usually stop?
Suppose we didn’t stop there. What happens?
Image: “Am Mittagstisch,” an image by Hermann Groeber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,