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Weekly Devotional | The Last Word

This devotional is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, The Last Word, given on March 27th, 2016.

 

Day 1: Jesus’ Love

Quotes/References:

  • “Those who Jesus has revealed himself to, view themselves first and foremost as loved by him, not as those who love him. This is a common feature of those he has loved. They think of themselves as loved by him, not first and foremost as those who imperfectly love him.” D.A. Carson

Questions and Reflections:

  • Do you tend to think of yourself primarily as “one who is loved by Jesus” or “ one who loves Jesus.” Why is the distinction important?
  • At one time or another all Christians feel insecure about God’s love for them. We fear that he will stop loving us because we have failed to be good enough, sincere enough, or zealous enough. Read 1 John 4:10. How do we know that God loves us? Is God’s love resultant of his character or ours?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read Romans 5:8. Just as Lazarus was dead in his tomb, so we were dead in our sins and unable to love Jesus. Thank God for how richly he loves us, displayed by sacrificing his own Son!

 

Day 2: Jesus’ Delay

Quotes/References:

  • “At the outset of the story we learn that even though Lazarus is deeply loved by Jesus, Lazarus is not the main character in this story. The main character is the Son of God. It is the Son of God revealing the glory of God! And though he loves Lazarus and Martha and Mary, Jesus deliberately postpones going to Bethany so that they and we might behold the glory of God!”
  • “When he delays in response to our appeals, we can be certain that whenever he delays it is always for the glory of God and ultimately our good. And when he delays, we shouldn’t doubt his love, for his love for us is no different than his love for Lazarus and Martha and Mary. And just as Lazarus wasn’t the main character in this story, brothers and sisters, we aren’t the main character in our story. Jesus is appropriately the main character in our story as well, and ultimately for his glory.” CJ Mahaney

Questions and Reflections:

  • Can you relate to Mary and Martha’s experience of waiting on Jesus during a crisis? What did it feel like and what were your thoughts at that time? What was the most difficult part about waiting?
  • Explain in your own words how Jesus’ delay was an expression of deep, genuine love rather than indifference.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. Pay special attention to the first verse. Thank God that he wants us to come to him again and again and again! Ask him to give you confidence, knowing action will be taken in his perfect timing. Ask that he would give you the faith to trust him.

 

Day 3: Jesus’ Heart

Quotes/References:

  • “What John tells us in point of fact, is that Jesus approached the grave of Lazarus in a state not of uncontrollable grief, but of inexpressible anger.” B.B. Warfield
  • “It shows us him who is able to feel as he is to save. The Maker of all things, entering into human sorrow, and shedding human tears.” J.C. Ryle
  • “A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.” Charles Spurgeon

Questions and Reflections:

  • Why was Jesus angry? What was the object of his anger?
  • Knowing he would resurrect Lazarus, Jesus still took time to personally enter into the anguish and suffering experienced by Mary and Martha. Why? Explain what it reveals about Jesus’ character.

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read Isaiah 53:10-11. Jesus knew better than anyone in history what it felt like to be crushed and alone for God’s purpose. Thank him for not standing far off from the suffering of his people, but willing to enter into it.

 

Day 4: Jesus’ Victory

Quotes/References:

  • “Comfortable, not least, is the thought that when we ourselves lie down in the grave, we may lie down in full assurance that we shall rise again. The voice that called Lazarus forth will one day pierce our tombs.” J.C. Ryle
  • “The life he gives is nothing less than the indestructible life of the resurrection, the very life of the deathless God himself. Resurrection life which triumphs over death is not confined to the distant future, but is present here and now in him who is the Resurrection, the embodiment of the promised life and salvation of God.” Bruce Milne

Questions and Reflections:

  • Why does Jesus call himself “the resurrection and the life”?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. Ask God to give you renewed joy in the eternal life Jesus’ has won for you! Ask him also for zealous obedience and faithful labor.

 

Questions for Group Discussion:

  • What is the most comforting truth you encountered in this text?
  • How does knowing God loved you first influence your interactions with those around you?
  • Can you share an example of a time you doubted God’s responsiveness to prayer. What was the result? What did you learn about God’s character?
  • Even after Martha acknowledged Jesus was the Christ (verse 27), she still didn’t grasp his plan to raise Lazarus (verse 39). Would you share how you are currently faltering in faith? Others can use Scripture to encourage those who are humble enough to share.