Feb. 15, 2023: Christ’s Concern

Read John 11:31-37.

“When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”

(v. 33),

   Jesus turns sorrow into JOY! Two-word scriptures? Quickly we answer, “Jesus wept.” Because “Jesus wept” we can “Rejoice evermore” (1 Thess. 5:16). This Thessalonians scripture is a perfect two-word synonym for JOY.
God’s people have a history of leaving ripples of joy. Think about the relief and joy Moses caused when he used his staff to divide the Red Sea. Vicious, pursuing Pharaoh along with his supercharged and competent army were swallowed by the seething sea. Instead of a watery tomb, the Israelites experienced a tidal wave of joy.
   Can you imagine the joy experienced by the Shunamite mother when her dead son sneezed seven times? Usually, sneezing brings concerns of Illness; in this case, it brought immense joy. When dressmaker Dorcas was brought back to life, the whole village let out a relieved sigh! Dorcas was a joy broadcaster using her creative designs to provide much-needed clothing for the poor.
Sowing seeds of joy among others will minimize idle time to dwell on troubles. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” is not just a dreamy, idyllic phrase. Laughter has been proven to increase oxygen intake and lower blood pressure. Once again, the Bible is supported by scientific evidence. Exodus decreed handwashing; now medical science has agreed it is good for our health. God handed us a manual for our trek to heaven. His Holy Word has not left out even the minutest details for a joyful journey! In the wake of your travels, leave behind smiles and joy. (Beverly Tatum)
Joyful news to all mankind,
Jesus is mighty to save;
All who seek shall surely find
Jesus is mighty to save.
--- Charles Coller

It takes 72 muscles to frown — only 14 to smile!

2023-02-15T20:56:29+00:00February 15th, 2023|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Christ’s Death Foretold

Read Isaiah 53:1-6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (v.6).
Isaiah portrays for us one of the most graphic, and yet most beautiful, scenes in holy writ. Where would we be had Christ not suffered humiliation and death for our sins? He became the spotless and perfect Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29).
When Christ was here on earth, He also likened the multitudes to scattered sheep having no shepherd. Revealing His compassion through His sacrificial death, He became our Good Shepherd – thus providing meaning and direction to our lives.
Because sheep naturally tend to stray, they become lost and defenseless. This makes them vulnerable prey. Just so, humanity is without Christ. God, the Father, willed that His Son become our substitute – to be sin for us, who knew no sin (II Cor. 5:21). Certainly, we can join with John the Beloved, BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us… (I Jn 3:1a). (Shirley Gordon)

Man of sorrows, what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! What a Saviour! - Philip P. Bliss

How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

This devotional is the Monday, March 7, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

2016-03-08T09:00:00+00:00March 8th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Christ's Death Explained

Lesson 2 - March 13, 2016
Focus Text: John 12:20-36
Central Truth: Christ willingly gave His life for our sake.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to explain why Christ had to die in order that we might live.
Lesson Outline:

  1. The Principle Behind Christ's Death (John 12:20-26)
  2. The Purpose of Christ's Death (John 12:27-32)
  3. The Problem of Christ's Death (John 12:33-36)
2016-03-07T09:00:00+00:00March 7th, 2016|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , , |0 Comments

How can we know Jesus cares during our times of trouble?

In "Biblical Perspective" Gayle Woods writes:

Jesus is touched by the feelings of our infirmities. He is moved when His people are hurting. The tears of Mary and the Jews caused Jesus to groan — to be troubled. He is no less moved when we are going through our difficult times of life. He sees every trouble, every trial, every tear, and groans with us. The word translated troubled means to be “intensely agitated.”

Discussion: How does it encourage you to know that Jesus was "intensely agitated" by the tears of Mary and the Jews?
Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 70.

2016-02-19T09:00:00+00:00February 19th, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , |0 Comments

Why is "Jesus wept" more than the shortest verse in the Bible?

In "Word Focus" William Sillings writes:

John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it is heavy with meaning. Jesus wept (edakrusen — aorist). The word itself means “to shed tears,” but the aorist signifies that He burst into tears. While Jesus was very God of very God, He was also very man of very man. The humanity He experienced was as real as yours and mine, and the tears He shed here are likely to be nothing less than the tears of sorrow over the loss of a friend to death, the enemy of all life. They were probably tears of sympathy for the family members, Mary and Martha. These people were, after all, some of His closest friends outside of the twelve. Jesus had spent many hours in the home of these fine friends, and He was saddened by their sadness.

Discussion: How does our viewing of John 11:35 as merely the shortest verse in the Bible obscure our understanding of the importance of what it teaches us about Jesus?
Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 69.

2016-02-18T09:00:00+00:00February 18th, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , |0 Comments

Facing Reality

Read John 11:11-15
“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. (v. 14)
Recently, this fifty-two-year-old played football with teens. Early into the game, I caught a pass and ran toward the goal. A teen cut me off, so I tried what would have worked years ago, which is stopping abruptly, cutting to the side and running around everyone. The stopping abruptly part worked, but cutting to the side and running around everyone failed miserably. My brain had been living in a fantasy world of how things used to be.
We drift between two worlds. The first is imaginary — how things “should” be. The second is reality. Some spend so much time in the first that they never realize their potential for the second. In verse 12, the disciples are living in a world of optimism, believing Lazarus is sleeping. In verse 14, Jesus brings them back to reality. Lazarus is dead. It was difficult for the disciples to accept this news, but it set the stage for a great miracle. (DWM)
This devotional is the Tuesday, February 16, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

2016-02-17T09:00:00+00:00February 17th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

Lesson Highlight: "funerals in Israel"

In "Biblical Perspective" Dr. Gayle Woods writes:

A funeral in Israel was a special event that lasted thirty days. As a funeral procession moved along, it was led by hired mourners who wailed loudly in an effort to make an adequate public display of sorrow. The procession was followed by friends and relatives. This particular funeral was that of the only son of a widow, making it an even more tragic event. Many of the city showed their sympathy for the widow by joining the procession. The man who had died was probably the sole provider for the widow. It was wonderful to have sympathetic friends, but soon they would be gone, and she would be left to fight for survival in a day in which it was very difficult for women to find employment. The possibility that she would soon be reduced to begging was great.

Discussion: Do you think the elaborate display of sorrow made the grieving easier or more difficult on the bereaved?
Discussion: From your experiences of loss, imagine the pain and distress of this widow.
Source: Miracles of Jesus, Adult Teacher's Insights, pages 10-11.

2015-12-09T09:00:57+00:00December 9th, 2015|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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