Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 20

SATURDAY, JULY 15 | JOHN 20

LAUNCH

Have you ever seen a homeless person on the road asking for money or food? What is your initial reaction when you see them? Have you ever taken time to hear their story, their background? In today’s study, you’ll learn about Jesus’ resurrection. But, try to pay special attention to the types of people He visits upon His resurrection. It would have been easy to go back to the crowds that demanded His death. He could have rubbed death on a cross in their faces. But, instead, He decided to visit others for a specific purpose.

EXPLORE

Read John 20:1-10

The first person to see that Jesus was no longer in the tomb was Mary Magdalene. What was her initial reaction to seeing that the stone had been removed from the grave? She knew that the disciples needed to know that their Savior was no longer there. The idea of a resurrection did not even cross her mind. Yet, when John and Peter arrived and looked inside the tomb, they saw the cloth and linens lying exactly where the body of Jesus lay previously. It was as if the body had simply evaporated and not taken off.

Read John 20:11-18

Notice that Mary speaks directly to the angels. This is one of the few times in the Bible where someone speaks to angels without being completely taken with fear (for example, the shepherds in their fields when Jesus was born). Also, the fact that the resurrected body of Jesus was seen by a woman first is significant. The testimony of a woman would generally not have been respected by society, but Jesus values it. What does this tell us about the difference between what we, as Christ followers, should value versus what society values?

Read John 20:19-23

It was not until this point when the disciples finally believed that Jesus had resurrected. They had to see His hands and His sides in order to fully believe. Also, despite the disciples deserted Jesus during His crucifixion, Jesus responds with peace. What does this display about the character of Jesus and His understanding of what was needed to be accomplished?

Read John 20:24-31

Thomas provides an example of what many unbelievers desire from God. They desire to see, touch, and then believe. While Jesus is more than willing to let Thomas see and touch, He blesses those who believe without doing so. However, Thomas also represents a very important idea for truly believing in Christ. He did not believe simply because others said he should. He did not go along with everyone despite not understanding. He desired to know truth, to understand, and then make his own decision based off of what he knew. In many ways, Thomas reflects what many believers go through in terms of their own convictions.

APPLY

The resurrection of Jesus is vital to understanding and truly believing that Christ died for our sins. If He wasn’t resurrected, then our sin would have died with Christ, but the death of sin would not have been defeated. However, as you’ve gone through BOS this summer, perhaps you’ve seen many different aspects of what The Salvation Army looks like in real life. It might mean shelter, support, church, faith, food, or many other things to many people. And yet, they are all aspects of who Christ is. More importantly, they show that Christ is available to everyone, regardless of status. How can you show Jesus to everyone, regardless of their status, recognition, or position today? How can live you joyfully within the context of Jesus defeating sin and resurrection? What does that look like within your own life today?

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 19

FRIDAY, JULY 14 | JOHN 19

LAUNCH

Do you remember a birthday, a Christmas, or some other time where you were completely blown away by a gift? That feeling of just pure joy that comes from knowing that you get to enjoy something that you’ve always desired. That someone else recognized your desire, and sacrificially gave it to you. In today’s reading, Jesus gives a gift that is beyond anything that could ever be given. As you read, recognize the pain and suffering that Jesus went through in order to provide the gift of life to anyone who chooses to accept it.

EXPLORE

Read John 19:1-8

While Pilate is often recognized as the man who crucified Jesus because he was the one providing the sentence, do you notice the fear and pain in Pilate’s words as he sentences Jesus to be crucified? How many times did he say that Jesus was innocent? Initially, Pilate flogged Jesus. This was a beating that was either meant to punish, get a confession of a crime, or to weaken someone before being crucified. Could this have been one way Pilate was trying to help Jesus by beating Him so the crowd would be satisfied? Or was this Pilate punishing and weakening Jesus?

Read John 19:7-16

Why do you think Jesus didn’t work with Pilate to figure out a way to set Him free? Jesus was sent to earth to save everyone from their sin by dying on a cross, unjustly, and then resurrecting and defeating death. For this reason, Jesus had to go through with the humiliation and, ultimately, death on a cross.

Read John 19:17-27

When we think of how Jesus was crucified, we often think of one nail going through the feet, legs extended, and one nail through each of His palms. In 1968, scientists discovered the remains of a man who had been crucified near the time Jesus lived. They discovered the man was crucified with three nails, placed in an uncomfortable seated position, legs to the side, a nail just below the heel, and two more nails through the forearms. While we have no proof that this is how Jesus was crucified, it does show that crucifixion was meant to punish and cause a slow and incredibly painful death.

Also, did you notice what Jesus does even as He is being crucified? He notices His mother, standing next to John, “the disciple whom He loved”. Even in His moment of facing excruciating pain, He chooses to focus on the care of those He loves.

Read John 19:28-37

Jesus takes a drink in order to make one final declaration: It is finished. This is not meant to be a declaration of defeat but rather that of a conqueror. Jesus had taken upon Himself the sin of the world. While Jesus knew His fate all along, it was the spiritual suffering taken upon Himself when He died on the cross that truly pained Him. He took the Father’s wrath for all the world, for you and me, in order for us to be set free from sin. This is the greatest sacrifice that could be done. The death of a perfect man to set sinners free.

Read John 19:38-42

The burial of Jesus was done rather quickly because of the preparations needed for Passover, a day celebrated when the Holy Spirit punished the first-born son of every Egyptian family but sparred or “passed over” every Jewish household with the blood of a lamb on the door. However, where Jesus was buried is important. Jesus was laid in a new tomb. Something that would have cost a great deal in that time. Even in death, Jesus was given honor and respect by those who had faith in Him.

APPLY

This chapter is the cornerstone of what it means to be a Christ follower. It is because of this death of Jesus that we can have the joy in the resurrection to come. We need to live daily in recognition of the sacrifice that Christ died for us. Nothing we can do can make our lives worthy of this sacrifice. Instead, what are you going to do to recognize that you are indebted to Christ? You can choose to live your life according to what He desires for you. As Jesus previously commanded us to love one another, He did not say that we should expect a return or recognition for our love. Rather, we should love sacrificially as this was His example for us. What are practical ways that you can love sacrificially today? Perhaps try loving sacrificially where no one even knows it was your actions that showed them love.

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 18

THURSDAY, JULY 13 | JOHN 18

LAUNCH

Do you remember when you learned the truth about Santa? Did you argue with a friend that Santa was real? Did you behave so well the month of December just so you could find that joy on Christmas morning? Your beliefs in Santa were so strong, that they totally changed your attitude, your thoughts, and your behavior. In this chapter, we’ll learn about the fear of Simon Peter, the misguided beliefs of the Jewish leaders, and the spiritual kingdom where Christ reigns supreme.

EXPLORE

Read John 18:1-14

Despite all the times that Pharisees attempted to arrest or murder Jesus, the time had finally come. Yet, the detachment of soldiers who approached Jesus “fell back” at the declaration that He was, in fact, Jesus of Nazareth. What does this say about the power of Jesus and the recognition the soldiers had of Jesus’ power? While it was only Jesus against some soldiers, Jesus obviously had the power to defeat them. However, Jesus knew what was to be done. Simon Peter, obviously not desiring that Jesus be taken away, attempts to protect Jesus. What does Jesus say in response to Simon Peter’s actions? Why was Jesus so at peace with His arrest?

Read John 18:15-18

Just as Jesus had predicted, this was Peter’s first denial. While it may not have been elaborate and grandiose, it was a denial. A young servant girl, considered as one of the lowest parts of the social structure at the time, asked him and he denied knowing Jesus. It is amazing that such a simple act has such a great repercussion. Why do you think God would plan to use a servant girl to fulfill what Jesus had prophesied for Peter’s denials?

Read John 18:19-24

The ultimate shaming is soon coming for Jesus. Remember that it was not long ago that Jesus was honored at a feast, rode into the city on a donkey while the ground was covered in palms, and recognized as the son of God by many. Notice that there is an intersection of faith in God and politics happening as the downfall of Jesus. For it is not the high priest who strikes Jesus, but a nearby official.

Read John 18:25-27

Here, Simon Peter fulfills the prophecy made by Jesus. Just as Simon Peter denies Christ for the third time, the crow of the rooster is heard. What do you think is the significance of the rooster’s crow? When do you normally hear rooster’s crow? What new day is coming for the disciples?

Read John 18:28-40

Pilate is the Roman Governor at the time and was in charge of officially sentencing criminals. As Pilate questions the Jewish leaders and Jesus himself, what charge does he officially place against Jesus? Nothing! Yet, when the question of who should be released, an uprising leader named Barabbas or Jesus, they chose Barabbas. Pilate, often criticized for sentencing Jesus, was left with no choice. As a political figure, he could not go against both the Jewish leaders and the crowd gathered outside. Later on, when Pilate asks, “What is truth?”, his truth is based in the laws, Caesar, and military might. What is Jesus’ truth based on? Does the truth of God connect with the truth of the political system in our world?

APPLY

The death, and resurrection, of Christ is the foundation to everything that Christians believe. However, through studying these verses, what do you recognize about how Jesus responds to political pressure? He escapes political pressure by focusing on heavenly things. Do you ever get caught up in the pressures of the world when, really, you need to refocus on what God has planned to guide your steps? What steps does God have planned for you today? How can you live out your faith today in a way that reflects the flaws of human nature and the gift of freedom found in Christ?

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 17

WEDNESDAY, JULY 12 | JOHN 17

LAUNCH

Prayer is an integral part of the Christian walk. In many churches, early morning prayer services are opportunities to start the day focused on God. We pray at meals. We pray in times of need. We should remember to pray in times of joy. In today’s passage, Jesus spends time praying for very particular things prior to the coming of “His hour”. As you read, try to imagine the emotional state of mind of Jesus as He is balancing between His physical departure from earth and His spiritual arrival in Heaven.

EXPLORE

Read John 17:1-5

This chapter focuses on prayer. Jesus’ prayer reveals the depth of emotional and spiritual peace Jesus had with what was to come. However, the actual physical posture of Jesus is different than what we normally associate with prayer. Instead of bowing His head, He looks toward heaven. Why do you think Jesus did this? Also, Jesus is asking to be glorified. This is not a selfish request. But rather He is asking to be glorified so that, ultimately, it reflects God in the end as people must go through Jesus to gain eternal life in Heaven.

Read John 17:6-19

Notice that Jesus prays that He not only talked about God but He showed God to the disciples. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave Me out of this world.” In verse 9, why do you think Jesus explicitly says that He is not praying for the world, but for His disciples? His intent is to focus on the disciples as instruments of faith in Christ. Does Jesus want His disciples to live in community sheltered from the world around them, including Satan? Why wouldn’t God want His followers to be sheltered from the world around them so that they could solely focus on living lives that love God and keep their faith in their own community?

Read John 17:20-26

The Jewish people are often referred to as God’s chosen people in the Old Testament. Looking at what Jesus is saying here, is Heaven a realistic possibility for everyone? Or is this only reserved for the Jews? What proof from Jesus’ own words can reveal who God will allow to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus?

APPLY

Did you notice that, through every part of the prayer that Jesus prayed, He mentions the work performed with it? He has revealed God to the world. He has given the word of God to the disciples. He has finished the work of God on Earth. Prayer is never something that is isolated from our lives. It must be intertwined with every aspect of our being. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:31. Then, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. If both of these verses are commands from God, we need to live both of these out in our daily lives. Spend time today thinking about where are you needing to focus on today? Is today a day where you need to stop talking about the work God has called you to do and actually start doing it? Or, is today a day where you need to pray, give thanks, and ask for guidance from God?

band of survivors small groups | john 16

TUESDAY, JULY 11 | JOHN 16

LAUNCH

Do you ever have those days where you’re lying in bed, comfortable, warm, and cozy, but the light of the morning or the alarm clock is dragging you out? You don’t want to, but you know that it’s important to get out of bed and be productive with your day. Waking up in the morning can be a struggle, but it’s also the only way to experience what that day is going to offer. The disciples have grown quite comfortable being in the presence of Jesus every day. However, their comfort of the physical presence of Jesus is about to change in a drastic way. Read today’s passage to learn about how Jesus is going to use the struggle of losing His physical presence to bring about peace and joy in the lives of all who have faith in Him.

EXPLORE

Read John 16:1-11

Jesus comes with some pretty severe warnings for His disciples. Some of the worst persecutions in history were done in the name of God. And yet, those who have persecuted did not truly know God. From the passage, what comfort should the disciples take from the words of Jesus? We can all experience God as God speaks to Jesus who then reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit living within us. This is why prayer, practice of being in the presence of God, is so important.

Read John 16:12-15

Everything that is God can be shown to us through the Holy Spirit. We have the privilege and honor of being in direct connection with the creator of the universe through prayer. We can be comforted, guided, and loved through faith in Christ. The struggle for the disciples is that they had the comfort, guidance, and love in the flesh. Yet, now it was time to let God in the flesh go in order to experience God through the Holy Spirit.

Read John 16:16-18

The blunt response of the disciples is understandable. Jesus is talking about something that hasn’t happened before and will never happen again. It is the unknown. And yet, they believe it and trust that what Jesus is saying is true. When it comes to God, He may sometimes ask us to do things that seem completely unheard of, and yet, if we trust in Him, there is something good coming. Read the next section to see what Jesus says will happen in the disciples current state of grief.

Read John 16:19-24

“Your joy will be complete.” This simple phrase sums up what we can expect when we finally get to see Christ again. Using a metaphor again, the concept of pain in childbirth followed by the joy of being a mother is something that was clearly understood, but had to be applied in a new context. The struggle of studying for a test, but resulting in a good grade can be similar for students. There’s grief followed by joy.

Read John 16:25-33

The fancy language, analogies, and allegories finally stop and Jesus speaks directly to what the disciples need to understand. Looking at the final verse, how does Jesus show the transition from grief to joy? These disciples have been living, eating, and breathing together ever since Jesus called them together. Now, as the time for Jesus to return to heaven comes closer, the disciples will go to their own homes and have to gain strength and support from the Holy Spirit living in them.

APPLY

You have been living in community in BOS for two and a half weeks already. You’ve been growing spiritually, socially, and biblically. But, with the things that you’re learning, are you looking at ways in which you can use the skills and gifts that God has given you in your life in a daily, practical manner? Are you mentally preparing for grief that will be followed by joy? With your small group, talk about things that are realistically applicable to your life on a daily consistent basis. What things will you need to adapt?

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 15

MONDAY, JULY 10 | JOHN 15

LAUNCH

Have you ever really cleaned your house? That deep cleaning that leaves the house smelling of a mix of Lysol and just clean air? It feels good when you’re done. But, when you’re in the middle of cleaning, it’s often annoying and tough to do. When you’re told to clean your room, it’s not exciting or motivating for most kids. Yet, it’s important to maintaining a clean life. Jesus is going to talk about the tough work that lies ahead for the disciples after He returns to live with God the Father. Look closely at how Jesus ensures that the disciples are prepared and ready for this big change.

EXPLORE

Read John 15:1-17

As Jesus is speaking in this analogy, He quickly makes reference to something that shows the disciples were already “cleansed”. What is this? The word of God is the most powerful cleaning that we could ever experience. It condemns sin, it inspires holiness, it promotes growth, it reveals power for victory. The disciples had relied on the word of God to come from Jesus. Now that He was preparing to go back to Heaven, they had to learn to rely on the word of God from the scriptures written. However, the idea of cleansing is also a constant renewal process. Those who are connected to God, but then fall away were never truly overcome by God’s grace and need to reconnect through the hard work of “cleansing”.

Read John 15:18-25

Jesus does not shy away from the fact that following Him is hard. What does Jesus say to comfort the disciples when they feel as though they are going a tough time? Specifically, why should the disciples not be discouraged when they become hated by the world? Jesus will never give us anything that we cannot handle because everything that we experience, He has experienced Himself. Jesus also references the fact that the guilt of sin rests with those who have heard and seen what Christ can do, but have not come to the point of having faith in Him. Notice that Jesus is not judging others, but rather telling His disciples that they should having faith that everything that they go through will be only to strengthen them in the end and bring glory to God.

Read John 15:26-27

In these short two verses, Jesus does two things: comforts His disciples and shows the connection between God and man and woman. First, He shows them that He is not leaving them completely on their own. Who does Jesus say will come and work through them as a witness? He also says that the Holy Spirit needs us, you and me, to be witnesses for Christ. We work in partnership with God to witness for Christ.

APPLY

When we think of being left or leaving, we often think that we are losing something. Here, the disciples are getting ready to lose the physical presence of Jesus. But, it becomes an opportunity to grow into witnesses for Jesus. It requires work. We all need to be cleansed. And then, we also need to make sure that we are ready to be witnesses for Christ. Where are you at in your spiritual walk with Christ? Do you need to spend time and letting God come in and cleanse. To wash, scrub, and dig out all the impurities of your heart so that you can “abide in Him”? Or do you need to go and witness for Christ? Many times in our lives, these happen at the same time. But where do you need to focus on today?

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 13:31-14:31

SUNDAY, JULY 9 | JOHN 13:31-14:31

LAUNCH

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when trying something new? Maybe you were uncomfortable starting BOS this summer. Maybe it was when someone handed you a microphone and you suddenly couldn’t speak. Jesus has spent a lot of time with His disciples preparing them for when He would go back to Heaven with God the Father. Their worry is real. But, we’ll learn today how God’s plan is perfect for their lives and that God wants us to be stretched in our faith and actions every day so that His faithfulness can be reflected in all that we do.

EXPLORE

Read John 13:31-38

Jesus gives a new command: to love one another. Moses in the Old Testament had been given the 10 commandments where one of them was to love your neighbor as yourself. Here, Jesus tells them to love one another as He has loved them. How are these two different? Which form of love do you think God expects of us? Jesus provided an example of love for His disciples. His love was sacrificial and selfless, not simply focused on others.

Also, in this section, we learn of another fold in the story that will lead to Jesus’ death: Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus at three different times. As you continue reading, try to imagine the next chapter as a movie in your mind. The images and actions described should be vivid in your mind as it will help you understand the depth of the struggle that Jesus’ disciples went through as they anticipated Jesus’ death.

Read John 14:1-4

Jesus just got done telling the disciples that they could not follow Him where He is going. And yet, He reveals two major aspects of Heaven and God’s plan: a home for everyone who believes and the promise of Jesus’ return.

Read John 14:5-21

The idea of the trinity, the three-in-one unity of God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is shown here. The disciples knew Jesus as a human; a human that was the Messiah, provided by God to save the world from their sins. Yet, the idea that He was a part of God, and further that the Holy Spirit would live within them, was a hard concept to understand because, after all, Jesus was standing, in the flesh, right in front of them. How would you describe the importance of God being three-in-one? God the Father, the almighty creator of the Earth and comforter in our time of need. God the Son, the Savior and Redeemer from our sin when we did nothing to deserve it. And God the Holy Spirit, who lives within us and guides us in following the will of God.

Read John 14:22-31

Jesus ends this passage by telling Judas not to worry. Jesus has explained that He will have to go to be with the Father but He will return. What would you have asked if Jesus, the person who has completed transformed your life, is now telling you that He will leave you, you cannot come, but He will return in time and you shouldn’t be worried? How would you have reacted?

APPLY

As Jesus prepared to go be with God the Father, He spends time reminding His disciples that they are ready. He pushes them to do what they have been prepared to do: love others as Jesus has loved them. Perhaps this summer, you have, at times, felt unprepared, inadequate, or unskilled. Maybe you’ve been pushed out of your comfort zone. But, as one group, one family in BOS, you’ve always had support. If you haven’t left your comfort zone, perhaps you’ve been focusing on being prepared. Perhaps you’ve avoided leaving your comfort zone because you’re not sure that you will be successful. Look for opportunities to continue to stretch yourself today. Maybe it will require you to lead a game, serve someone, spend time with a specific person, or maybe take a step back and learn how to encourage others to be stretched. Spend some time in prayer that God would reveal an opportunity to show His faithfulness through your “stretching” today.

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 12-13:30

SATURDAY, JULY 8 | JOHN 12-13:30

LAUNCH

Have you ever been sitting in class, watching the clock, just waiting for that class to end? Time can seem to drag on and on. In today’s passage, John has been hinting that Jesus’ hour had not come. He’s escaped being killed several different times. However, as Jesus’ “hour” draws near, He shows us the very best that can come from anticipating in faith and hints at the very worst of what happens when our actions are not lined up with what we actually believe in our hearts.

EXPLORE

Read John 12:1-11

Jesus is being honored in this passage. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead and they were doing a meal in His name. Yet, as Jesus is honored with expensive perfume poured on His feet, Judas objects to the wastefulness of this act. Jesus, recognizing Judas’ actual intentions, shows that it is ok for us to invest in what is God honoring. Sometimes, we may struggle with what is God honoring when it means sacrificial giving on our own part. In what ways is God calling you to give sacrificially?

Read John 12:12-19

Jesus is now loved and honored by many. Even being recognized like a king. Yet, in the midst of it all, the Pharisees can’t overlook the fact that Jesus is a threat. This turn from King to death on a cross comes quickly.

Read John 12:20-27

As you’ve been studying John, this is the first time that Jesus recognizes that His “hour” had come. The death that He had avoided on multiple occasions up to this point has finally come. Do not forget that Jesus, following God’s infinite wisdom, knew that timing was everything in having the impact of being Savior for the world.

Read John 12:28-50

Jesus starts this passage by being vague. Why do you think Jesus wasn’t clearer on how He was going to be the Savior for all? Why did He use the analogy of light and dark again when He could have just been blunt and said who He truly was and what He was going to do? God always has perfect timing for our lives. He desires to reveal Himself and His will in the time that is best for our lives. By the end of this passage, Jesus starts becoming more blunt yet, He doesn’t directly say that He is the son of God and He had come to save the world through death and resurrection. Rather, He guides their thoughts in understanding that becoming saved can only happen through faith in Him. Timing and faith are the cornerstones of what Jesus is doing to revolutionize the world around Him. How are God’s timing and faith in Him being lived out in your life? Are you anxious that something might or might not happen? Are you worried when all you need is faith in God’s will to have things happen in the right time for your life?

Read John 13:1-17

Washing the feet of guests was often the job of servants. The humility that Jesus was showing reflected what He had been throughout His entire life on Earth- a man with the power as the son of God but who was not greater than any other person. In God’s kingdom, everyone, from the greatest to the least, deserves recognition and respect. Why do you think Jesus chose to show this type of humility during His final hours on Earth?

Read John 13:18-30

Jesus had made it clear what was about to happen. And yet, His disciples could not fathom that one of them would betray Jesus. Sometimes, people can live their lives distinctly different between their actions and their intentions. Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart and what He was going to do. Yet, He did not stop Judas from betraying Him because Jesus knew it was God’s will.

APPLY

Living within a Christian community like BOS can be an amazing experience of growth and commitment to who God is, what He wants for your life, and how He can guide you according to His will. But, it can also be easy to do and say all the right things without truly experiencing what God wants for you and having that faith as a true part of your identity. Take a moment to check to see what the status of your heart is. Not the actions or words that everyone sees, but your true intentions and motivations for what you do. Are you doing things for yourself, or are you seeking to truly honor God in all that you do?

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 11

FRIDAY, JULY 7 | JOHN 11

LAUNCH

Have you ever had to work in a group project where one person in the group is amazing and then another person is nearly useless? Sometimes, the amazing work of one person can be threatening to another because it raises the level of expectation. Jesus is doing amazing things and He’s got another miracle up His sleeves in this chapter. But, His good deed does not go unrecognized. Others are starting to feel threatened. They know that they cannot match the amazing things that He is doing because they do not have the power of God within them. As you read, pay special attention to the two groups of people who are affected by Jesus: those who have faith in Him and those who are threatened by Him.

EXPLORE

Read John 11:1-16

Jesus had a close relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. And Jesus, who had already performed miracles for mere strangers, was kind of expected to help this family who He had a relationship with. What did Jesus do when He first heard about Lazarus? He stayed put for 2 days! This might sound insane, but, He does the same thing two other times when close friends and family asked for help: His mother at Cana and His brothers on the way to Jerusalem. He first denied helping them, then helped them later while recognizing that the timing is God’s timing, not His own. All of this was done for one simple reason: so that God can be glorified through the miracle performed.

Read John 11:17-37

Martha shows some pretty raw emotion to Jesus in this section. She clearly shows that she is disappointed that Jesus didn’t come sooner. Yet, she remains strong in her faith and recognizing that Jesus is the Messiah. In the midst of a hard time, do you still recognize that God is in control? More than this, Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days. Jewish superstition said that the soul of dead stays near the dead for three days. By Jesus waiting four days, He is showing that God is truly in control of everything, even death.

It is also important not to overlook the raw emotions that Jesus experiences in seeing Lazarus dead. Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet, it shows the humanness of Jesus. He was, just as it says in Salvation Army doctrine, “truly and properly God, and truly and properly man”. And, despite everything that Jesus has done, those with Him still question the power of the son of God.

Read John 11:38-44

This miracle by Jesus was deeply personal. Jesus’ emotions were with Mary and Martha. He felt the pain that was death. In verse 40, what is the only condition that Jesus places on Martha for miracles to happen? God requires the same condition for Him to work in our own lives: faith. Genuine, limitless, and unquestionable faith.

Read John 11:45-50

Jesus’ miracles ultimately led to two reactions: belief and distrust. For many, they came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the son of God. For others, they believed that Jesus’ actions were going to result in political repercussions or effects. However, Jesus’ motives were never based in any political movement. Instead, the focus was always on that of faith in God. The high priest, Caiaphas, ultimately makes the decision that seem logical, but not founded in faith in God: that Jesus should die in order to save their nation from being taken over politically by the Romans.

Read John 11:51-57

Jesus responded by going away to the wilderness. It should be clear that this was not out of fear, but because His “hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). However, His hour was drawing near. Jesus had performed so many miracles and spoken so much Truth that it was nearly impossible for anyone not to recognize the following that Jesus had built. Politically, it was viewed as a threat. Spiritually, it was God changing lives and preparing the world to experience the one, true Savior. To experience freedom from sin through the death of a sinless life in Jesus Christ.

APPLY

This chapter shows a lot about the emotional impact of death, the humanness of Jesus, and the effects that Jesus had on the world. However, Jesus’ actions could no longer be ignored by the world He lived in. They had to recognize who He was and what He was doing. If we are saved from our sin, and called to live lives that are within God’s will, shouldn’t our actions also be something that simply cannot go unrecognized or glossed over by the world around us? How are you showing radical, deep, caring love for those around you? Are you simply praying that God speaks to you but not acting upon it? As you go through today, look for opportunities to show God’s love, the same love that can transform your life, to others in a radical, new way.

Band of Survivors Small Groups | John 10

THURSDAY, JULY 6 | JOHN 10

LAUNCH

Have you listened to someone give a speech and been moved to action? Maybe someone’s speech made you excited and pumped up to do something new or tough. Maybe that speech made you upset and ready to counter their claims. Our words are important. They carry value. However, that value can be lost if our words are not followed by our own actions. The phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do.” really takes all the power from what they are saying because it is inconsistent with what they are showing. Today, Jesus says some pretty tough words for the Pharisees to hear. It moves them to the point where they nearly kill Jesus…again. But, focus on how Jesus uses His own life, and the testimony of others about Him, to show that He is, in fact, the son of God.

EXPLORE

Read John 10:1-10

Shepherding was a fairly common profession in Biblical times. Using this analogy, and what you’ve learned from studying John so far, who do you think Jesus was referencing when He mentions that all others who have come before Him have been “thieves and robbers”? Who was Jesus speaking to in this passage? Jesus was never shy to be poignant in His words. He was clear, direct, and wise in how he addressed the audience that was listening to Him. In our own words, we should do the same.

Read John 10:11-21

Again the Pharisees are divided among believing and not believing what Jesus is saying. However, do you notice how powerful the statements that Jesus is saying are? The idea of being a shepherd is not only a job for Jesus, but life. If you only were doing something as a job, and it became too tough or threatening, you would leave it for something easier or safer. For Jesus, the fact that shepherding is His life and is life-giving means that He will never leave us in our time of need. His desire is to see us live and thrive within His care and guidance.

Read John 10-22-42

The intensity that Jesus brings to situations is palpable. You can feel the anger, animosity, and struggle that the Pharisees have in listening to what Jesus says as complete truth. When Jesus says that He is one with God, the Pharisees pick up stones to kill Him. Yet, as before, it was not His time. Jesus skillfully demonstrates the difference between what others have claimed as “god” and how He has demonstrated the works of the true God. The reference to other “gods” was because of the judgements made by the judges in Psalm 82- men who judged and determined the fate of others. Jesus is saying that if God gave these judges the title of “gods” without actually any merit, then why is it so upsetting if He calls Himself the son of God if everything He has done has lined up with the will of God? There are inconsistencies in their blame and accusations. Ultimately, many came to believe in Jesus because of a testimony of someone they all respected, John. Despite miracles and consistently living His life according to what God had said and fulfilling prophecies in the Old Testament, this group needed John’s testimony to believe in Jesus.

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Our words carry a lot of weight with them. Today, Jesus is showing us that He can speak blatant truth, making bold claims, and yet, despite every reason demonstrating that He is speaking the truth, He can still be at the point of near death. How have you been using your words lately? Have you been using your words to speak truth? Have you also been living a life that demonstrates that truth lived out? If you speak truth, but do not follow it up with actions that are consistent with that truth, the value of your words diminishes. What can you do today that starts making a change where the value of your words increases and better reflects the Truth of Christ in your life? Where are you going to start today?