Death in the Eyes of Fear

Five Views of Death Series John 11:1-56

 
 

 
 

Death in the Eyes of Fear

John 11:1-16

 

One of the things we fear most when suffering with an illness is death. It is the one thing that we cannot overcome; we can do nothing to fix. Therefore, we seek all kinds of means to remove that threat. We go through a litany of medical tests thinking that if the doctors can find what it is, they can just do their magic and we will be healed. Or we seek out alternative means to cope with the idea that we may not have control over this problem. Often, we use prayer as a means to bargain with God. We assume that if we petition Him enough, He’ll see it our way and let us stay here as long as we want. Many times, if God does not answer the prayer the way we want, we will turn our backs on Him because we think that He has abandoned us. In reality, He did not. It is God’s prerogative to choose whether we live here or die. We have never had that power. For us, the idea that we do not have control of our death often causes us to suffer more than from the actual condition that we are experiencing. In the effort to control things that we cannot, our minds are often an illness in and of itself.
 

Mary, the sister of Lazarus, called out for Jesus when her brother was dying. We will see later how Mary reacted to Jesus when He did not answer her request the way she expected. When this kind of suffering happens, we cannot see the forest for the trees. We only see the discomfort of the suffering and not what God can do with it. While suffering is not something God drops on us, He can use the effects of the Fall for His good, and, if we are faithful, that will happen (Romans 8:28-31).

Our view of the outcome must change. When we fear death, which Christ has conquered, our view of it is skewed. We see death often from a “worldly fishbowl” perspective. We often fail to see the bigger picture. As we shall see in the next few weeks there are a few perspectives on death we can consider. In suffering, that can broaden our view of God, His people, His plan, and our future; even beyond death.

The story of Lazarus illustrates five views on death. It shows death through the eyes of fear, eternity, friendship, true power and the world.

 
 

The story begins with Mary, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus who was sick and dying. Mary, who was the one who annointed Jesus with the oil, was confident in her faith in Jesus. She called on Jesus, knowing His love for Lazarus, just telling Him that Lazarus was ill. She was sure He would come; and He did. However, not the way she expected. I am sure, as she waited unaware that Jesus had resurrection in mind, her fear grew as her brother faded away. 

Often, our faith is tested as we are pulled between our God and our earthly passions. Mary’s love for her brother was overshadowing her knowledge that God could do anything. When her brother died, and Christ did not come, she was devastated.

On the other hand, we have the disciples; when they were told that Jesus would be going back to Bethany where the three lived in order to bring Lazarus back to life, they reacted in their typical way. They first thought Jesus was crazy. Here He was going back to a place where His very life was threatened by the government to wake up a sleeping man. Their often short sighted view of who they were dealing with and the situations they found themselves in often resulted in their overprotection of not only Jesus, but themselves. They had no idea that they were really the ones who were protected.

 
 

In minimizing the situation, they too gave into fear and missed the point. Jesus was going to perform a miracle; they were worried about the material.

 
 

So where does your fear take you? Are you afraid to die? How does it affect your ability to see things the way they really are? How does fear affect your view of Death?

See Ya Next Time

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

Questions: Read John 11;1-16

In verses 1-3

1. What were the sisters’ expectations of Jesus?

2. What did they think the outcome would be?

3. How strong was Mary’s faith?

In verses 4-6

4. What were Jesus’ feelings toward his friends?

5. What was His response?

6. Is this a normal response? Why or Why not?


In verses 7-11

7. What was the disciples’ response to Jesus?

8. What did that say about their trust in Jesus?

9. What did that say about their compassion for others?

10. In v. 9, Jesus says something about himself and God’s agenda, what is it?


In verses 12-16

11. Discuss the dialogue between Jesus and His 12.

12. What does this exchange say about how Jesus views death and how the disciples view death.

 
 

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

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