Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 3- Balance Grief with Hope
March 17 2011 by Jim Grieme, pastor, Watkins Chapel Baptist Church

Focal Passage: John 11:1-44

Grief all too easily blinds us. Jesus in John 11:1-44 addresses those “blinded” by grief. In this passage we see various expressions of grief. Martha exhibits an intellectual grief.

This grief accepts the inevitability and universality of death, yet shuns any overtly emotional expression of it.

This is the grief espoused by our culture today. Mary displays emotion, but she chooses to make Jesus its focus; her grief is real and demonstrative, yet she determines with whom she will share it. Those Jews who came to console and mourn with the family expressed an extroverted emotion; an out-of-control, indiscriminate grief which often makes others feel uncomfortable.

Let’s review the major events of this story. On learning of Lazarus’ sickness, Jesus announces Lazarus’ illness will not bring death but glory to the Father and Son (v. 4). He then states they are returning to Judea, which elicits concern over His well-being by His disciples.

Jesus replies there is no stumbling when one “sees the light of this world” — a clear reminder to His teaching that He is “the Light of the world” (John 9:5).

After leading His disciples to the proverbial water, Thomas in v. 16 thinks they are going with Him to die; demonstrating their lack of understanding of His words in v. 8.

Our human tendency is to focus on the people in the story rather than who Christ is.

Face it; all of us are “people.” We live with people, and since we are people, we think like them. Grief is not evil or wrong.

Grief is the natural by-product of having someone’s presence ripped from our lives. Besides the amazing consolation available to us through a relationship with the Father through the Son, God also grants us the gift of memory. And “memories,” someone once wrote, “are like fresh cut roses in winter-time.”

Jesus is not angered over expressed grief.

He is not weeping over the death of a friend. 

He is angered by grief powered by fear and devoid of hope.

He weeps because even though He is present, those with Him still do not grasp His mission, His purpose. Fear, as He later teaches in John 14, is incompatible with the peace He brings. 

Our protection against overwhelming grief is a deep, abiding relationship with the One who is resurrection and life. We, unlike Christ’s disciples, need to remember that we cannot stumble when walking “during the day” (v. 9).

Let’s strive to put the “Light of the World” in the center of our lives. 

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3/17/2011 3:22:00 AM by Jim Grieme, pastor, Watkins Chapel Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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